Plan to help steelhead trout rebound in SLO County is finalized

A male steelhead trout, bottom, and a female, top.
A male steelhead trout, bottom, and a female, top. jmellom@thetribunenews.com

After several years of work, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued a report this month finalizing a plan to restore steelhead trout populations in San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties.

The south-central population of steelhead trout is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. The range of the population extends from the Pajaro River in Monterey County to Arroyo Grande Creek.

Biologists believe this population of steelhead once numbered more than 27,000 but is estimated to have declined to less than several thousand. Steelhead trout are considered one of the most prized sport fish species in the nation.

The recovery plan outlines actions that can be voluntarily taken by scientific researchers, stakeholders and the general public to help the species recover. In San Luis Obispo County, the report recommends creating bypasses around barriers that prevent the steelhead from migrating upstream to spawning and rearing habitats on the San Simeon, Santa Rosa, Pismo, Arroyo Grande and San Luis Obispo creeks.

The full report can be viewed online at www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected_species/salmon_steelhead/recovery_planning_and_implementation/south_central_southern_california_coast/south_cental_southern_california_coast_recovery_plan_documents.html.