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Steelhead trout listed as endangered in California

The Southern California steelhead trout was listed as endangered after decades of man-made water projects decimated its population.

The organization Cal-Trout estimates that only about 500 steelhead adults are remaining in a region that stretches from San Luis Obispo to the Mexican-American border.

Steelhead trout migrate to the ocean and return to freshwater to spawn. To do so, the fish species require unimpeded waterways as they are vulnerable to many stressors and threats.

Listing the species as endangered, gives the species added protections that can affect future water projects.

The move will also mean that the fish cannot be harmed, harassed, or killed below any natural or man-made barrier.

Marlow says that the federal guidelines have been in place for nearly 30 years, requiring endangered species like the steelhead trout to be protected whenever a water project is built.

“Now we’ll just have to work with the state government to ensure that their operations and their diversions are not having long-lasting and long-term impacts on the habitat,” said Russell Marlow, Senior Project Manager with Cal-Trout.

Future impacts will more likely happen at outdated infrastructure projects, like the Rindge Dam in Malibu. The dam was built in 1926 and created a huge sediment build-up that affected nearly 25-miles of trout habitat.

Projects like the Rindge Dam will be removed and over time allow Malibu Creek to flow freely once again to help bring the steelhead trout back from the brink of extinction

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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