SWC-IFFF Receives Grant from the Western Native Trout Initiative

Silver Creek, a tributary to the West Walker River in Mono County, is a Lahontan cutthroat trout (LCT) Recovery water that was illegally stocked with brook trout. Brook trout were discovered in Silver Creek in 2004, during a survey intended to collect baseline population information to support opening the stream to regulated angling. Unfortunately, lack of budget, low staff levels, and lack of ability to utilize efficient methods of brook trout removal (piscicide) that could be completed within two or three seasons have resulted in the lost opportunity of angling for a native Walker Basin cutthroat trout in this mountain meadow stream.

The International Federation of Fly Fishers and its local clubs and members mobilized volunteers and funds for three successful years so far of electrofishing support to provide a refuge for the LCT. This coming season is Year Four, and approximately four miles have been treated. This grassroots effort will continue until the refuge is cleared for the LCT to survive. Electrofishing is being conducted with California Dept of Fish and Wildlife as the lead, CalTrout and Trout Unlimited providing both funds and volunteer time.

The grant is to fund an interpretive panel design and construction to reach out and educate to people the negative impacts of illegal stocking on native ecosystems, and urge fishermen to participate in the Heritage Trout Program, a program designed by CDFW to restore opportunities for anglers to catch California’s native trout. International Federation of Fly Fishers and Southwest Council are providing matching funds for the project.

Notice of Approval of Emergency Regulatory Action

The State Office of Administrative Law has posted this emergency rule making it is effective as of July 2 and will expire on December 30, 2015.

The department shall maintain a list of closed waters of the state and update that list on Wednesday of each week by 1:00 pm. In the event that water conditions change later in the week, the fishing status for each specific water will not change until the day following the next Wednesday. It shall be the responsibility of the angler to use the telephone number provided below or go to the department’s website at to obtain the current status of any water.

The number to call for information is (916) 445-7600.

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

H.R. 5781

Congressman David Valadao has authored H.R. 5781 which was introduced on the House Floor last night  (December 2, 2014).  A first reading of the bill reveals that it does little to "solve water shortages" resulting from the drought, but it does alter how environmental protection statutes are implemented and enforced for the San Francisco Bay-Delta estuary. 

It also contains language to expedite Federal review of storage projects (within a 30 day window) which could have a negative impact on the availability of flows into the Delta and that could be used according to a recent UC Davis report to provide additional water for Governor Brown's proposed twin Delta tunnels.  It also allows for expedited water transfers which puts the health of our Northern California rivers and groundwater supplies at stake, especially during times of extended drought.

Read More: @ Restore The Delta

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:

CDFW Puts Closures in Effect


Debbie Sharpton
Conservation Chair

By now you've probably heard that on Tuesday, January 29, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) closed certain coastal waters to fishing in order to protect native salmon and steelhead from low water flows in California streams and rivers that have been significantly impacted by drought. CDFW is also recommending that the Fish and Game Commission adopt emergency regulations on other rivers. The lower American River downstream of Nimbus Dam is one of these other rivers currently under severe angling pressure. Chinook salmon redds built in the last few months have been dewatered; the eggs and fry from those redds will surely die. Additional deaths will result from inattentive wading on redds that are now exposed to shallow water. Endangered Central Valley Steelhead are moving into the river and will suffer, as well.

Read more: CDFW Puts Closures in Effect

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)