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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

19/08/2014: Steelhead trout strike back with new, powerful ally

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/steelhead-631923-forest-canyon.htmlIn the turf war between man and trout, man inevitably wins, reports AARON ORLOWSKI a staff writer for the Orange County Register in California.

"And the Southern California steelhead trout – an endangered species with a population a tenth of its former size – is suffering greatly as people destroy its habitat.

"Engineers armor streams, casting concrete channels on them to contain flooding. Home developers suck streams dry to water lawns. Builders raise dams to collect water and irrigate precious farmland, inevitably blocking fish from their upstream spawning grounds.

"But in the Santa Ana Mountains, the fish – with a powerful ally – have struck back.

"In 2012, the US Forest Service launched its Southern California steelhead recovery program. Toward that end, the agency started tearing down dams across the region that block the steelhead trout from historic and potential future spawning grounds.

"Next month, the Forest Service is scheduled to dismantle four dams in Holy Jim Canyon in the Santa Ana Mountains, according to the fire chief there, though Forest Service officials say the precise timing is still undetermined."

STEELHEAD FACTS

  • Steelhead trout spawn in coastal rivers and streams from Baja Mexico to Alaska
  • The Southern California strain is uniquely adapted to warmer waters and is legally considered a distinct population
  • The steelhead is genetically the same as the rainbow trout, except that it spends much of its life in the ocean. Like salmon, steelhead are born in and spawn in fresh water
  • The Southern California steelhead can grow about 2 feet long and can weigh up to 10 pounds. The population has dwindled to a fraction of its former size as human development has destroyed spawning habitat

Read more HERE.

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