Conservation News



Debbie Sharpton, Conservation Director
(805) 338-8278; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Volunteers and funding are needed to sustain a Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT) recovery project in the Western Lahontan Basin (Truckee, Carson and Walker River watersheds). With seed funding provided by Sierra Pacific Flyfishers, interns and volunteers will be on Silver Creek (headwater tributary of the West Walker River, Pickel Meadow area) late July to late September 2013 removing non-native predatory brook trout from a LCT recovery area.


Please consider volunteering this summer. A base camp will be set up along Silver Creek and a team of 4-5 people will assist CDFW with electrofishing. The goal of this multi-year activity is to eradicate non-native brook trout so the stream can sustain a currently imperiled population of LCT. CDFW will open the stream to angling when the brook trout have been removed.

Please consider making a donation to sustain the interns when volunteers are not available. SWC-IFFF has set up a special account for the LCT Recovery Project.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
(Oncorhynchus clarkii ssp. henshawi)

Photo credit — Michael Graybrook

 LCT, a federally-listed Threatened species, evolved in the absence of other trout, and they are highly susceptible to hybridization and competition from introduced trout species. Nonnative trout has caused the majority of LCT population extirpations since the mid 1990’s. Prior to then, dams that blocked access to spawning habitat, water diversions, and non native trout all contributed to the decline of LCT within the Lahontan Basin.

 LCT historically occupied large freshwater and alkaline lakes, small mountain streams and lakes below waterfalls, small tributary streams, and major rivers of the Lahontan Basin of northern Nevada, eastern
California, and southern Oregon, including the Truckee, Carson, Walker, Susan, Humboldt,
Quinn, Summit Lake/Black Rock Desert, and Coyote Lake watersheds.


Probable historical (blue) and currently occupied (yellow) Lahontan cutthroat trout habitat separated into the Eastern, Northwest, and Western Lahontan Basins. Out-of-Basin populations are not depicted on this map. (Excerpt from the USFWS LCT 5-Year Review, 2009)

Volunteer Registration

default 1995 USFWS Lahontan Cutthroat Recovery Plan (6.48 MB)

default 2003 USFWS Action Plan (2.11 MB)

The Eyes of Conservation

by Debbie Sharpton
Conservation Director

There are many good laws on the books of our society – the Clean Water Act of 1972 is one of them.  It’s hard to believe it is over 40 years old, and although the big polluters were the first targets, the hardest one for everyone to get their hands around is what is called “non-point source pollution”.  This is the type that comes from many different points instead of one discharge pipe.  

In California the State Water Board and its multiple regional water quality control boards are responsible, and under court order, to create and implement the regulations to meet the Clean Water Act objectives.  Several regulations have been in place dealing with acceptable levels of pollutants in waters of the state, one being trash.  The acceptable level of trash in the water is zero.  That’s a pretty lofty goal, but how could anyone say that trash is acceptable at any other level?  There was much resistance from the jurisdictional agencies but the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board passed the regulation some time ago.  This means that agencies must do their part in cleaning up trash from the waters, if they don’t they stand to be in violation of the regulation and their permits.

Several years ago Erick Burres, Conservation Biologist and head of the State’s Clean Water Team, passed on some great information about how people can be part of the solution.  Here is an excerpt form the IBM Research Lab’s internet site about one of the great things Erick is doing;

Read more: The Eyes of Conservation

Forest Service ordered to re-examine key wilderness areas

After losing a lawsuit brought by the state and several environmental groups, the U.S. Forest Service is under court order to re-evaluate how it manages about one million acres in four Southern California forests - including the local Angeles National Forest.

The result could be the re-zoning of hundreds of thousands of acres of forest land into "recommended wilderness" areas, one of the most restrictive designations on the forest, and "back country non-motorized" areas.

These designations could prohibit off-road recreation, decommission unused trails and roads, and help restore habitat for such endangered or threatened species as steelhead trout, the California condor and the arroyo toad, according to the U.S. Forest Service and groups participating in the 2011 settlement agreement.

Golden Trout Wilderness





In February of 2001, Inyo National Forest issued a Decision Notice that implemented a 10-year period of rest on the Templeton and Whitney grazing allotments in the Golden Trout Wilderness to facilitate recovery of watershed and channel conditions. The Notice indicated that grazing on the two allotments would be reconsidered at the end of the 10-year period. The Inyo National Forest has initiated an analysis and review of the Monache, Mulkey, Templeton and Whitney grazing allotments in the Kern Plateau/Golden Trout Wilderness on the Mt Whitney Ranger District.  This review will culminate in proposed actions that are analyzed through the NEPA process (EIS) that involves analyzing different alternatives to the proposed action, requires public notice and comment, and results in a NEPA decision. Final NEPA decisions are subject to administrative appeal.

SWC-FFF is providing this webpage as a resource for those interested in this important issue.






"Source of Map:  California Golden Trout Conservation Assessment and Strategy, page 22

USFS Inyo National Forest Webpage for Kern Plateau Grazing Assessment This page is the central link for the Forest Service studies and reports.  Information regarding the NEPA review process is available at this site.

DFG Resources, Studies, and Reports:

DFG Golden Trout Homepage:

Pister 2008 Golden Trout report:
Restoration of the California golden trout in the South Fork Kern River, Kern Plateau, Tulare County, California, 1966-2004 (PDF)
This report provides an excellent history of the restoration efforts for the golden trout.

Weaver, J. and  Mehalick, S.  Golden Trout Wilderness summary report 2008. California Department of Fish and Game. Available from:  Fish and fish habitat survey results for Golden Trout Creek, Siberian Creek, Stokes Stringer, and Mulkey Creek.

Weaver, J. and Mehalick, S. South Fork Kern River summary report 2009.  California Department of Fish and Game.  Available from: Fish and fish habitat survey results for South Fork Kern River and tributaries in Monache and Strawberry Meadows.

Additional Research Reports and Websites

David B. Herbst, Michael T. Bogan, Sandra K. Roll and Hugh D. Safford.  default Effects of livestock exclusion on in-stream habitat and benthic invertebrate assemblages in mountain streams (773 KB) .  Freshwater Biology (2012) 57, 204–217.

Andrew Skaggs  default California Golden Trout Literature Review (1.09 MB) May 2013

Website for UC Davis Genomics Variations Lab.  Reports available at:

Website for publications by Roland Knapp:

Publications by Kathleen Matthews:

Roland A. Knapp, Vance T. Vredenburg, and Kathleen R. Matthews.   default Effects of Stream Channel Morphology on Golden Trout Spawning Habitat and Recruitment. (277 KB)   Ecological Applications (1998) 8(4): 1104-1117.

Roland A. Knapp and Kathleen R. Matthews.   default Livestock Grazing, Golden Trout, and Streams in the Golden Trout Wilderness, California: Impacts and Management Implications. (1.76 MB)   N. American Journal of Fisheries Management (1996) 16: 805-820.

Kathleen Matthews.   default Habitat Selection and Movement Patters of California Golden Trout in Degraded and Recovering Stream Sections in the Golden Trout Wilderness, California. (1.24 MB)   N. American Journal of Fisheries Management (1996) 16-579-590.

Kathleen R. Matthews.   default Diel Movement and Habitat Use of California Golden Trout in the Golden Trout Wilderness, California. (975 KB)   Transactions of the American Fisheries Society (1996) 125: 78-86.

Kathleen R. Matthews.   default California Golden Trout and Climate Change: Is Their Stream Habitat Vulnerable to Gobal Warming? (495 KB) Wild Trout X Symposium – Conserving Wild Trout (2010)

General References:

Conservation Assessment and Strategy for the California Golden Trout,  2004.  CA DFG, USFS, and USFWS.  Available at:

Calfornia Golden Trout Does Not Warrant Listing Under the Endangered Species Act  This is a brief summary of the federal decision.

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding for a Petition To List the California Golden Trout as Endangered  This is a link to federal listing decision in the Federal Register.

Other Useful links:  

Golden Trout Project website:

Viewpoints: Delta fix must include higher flows, reduced water exports

In his State of the State Address, Gov. Jerry Brown committed to complete basic elements of the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan this year. BDCP is an effort, started and paid for by water exporters, to obtain 50-year permits for operation of the giant federal and state water projects in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the heart of the vast San Francisco Bay estuary and the hub of the system distributing water from north to south.

Read more  (Sacramento Bee)

Quagga mussels' spread creates quandary

By Henry Brean
Posted: May 28, 2012 | 2:00 a.m.

The enemy is invisible to the naked eye and exists in numbers hard to comprehend - hundreds of trillions of them at every depth and in every cove.

In the five years since they were first discovered in Lake Mead, the population of invasive quagga mussels has grown tenfold.

UNLV researcher David Wong estimates that more than 1.5 trillion adult quaggas and 320 trillion microscopic mussel babies now populate the reservoir.

That's 80 to 160 quaggas for every gallon of water in the nation's largest man-made lake. If mussels were dollars, there would be enough of them to pay off the national debt 20 times over, with a few trillion bucks to spare.

Read More (Las Vegas Review Journal)

Grant Recipients for 2011

Malibu Creek Craysfish Removal
Sierra Pacific/Wilderness Fly Fishers

Riparian Habitat Restoration
Sespe Fly Fishers
Malibu-Creek-Crayfish-Removal Sespe-Fly-Fishers-Riparian-Habitat-Restoration