Document Details

State of the Salmonids: Status of California’s Emblematic Fishes 2017

Peter B. Moyle, Robert A. Lusardi, Patrick J. Samuel, Jacob Katz | August 1, 2017
Summary

California has, or had, 32 distinct kinds of salmonid fishes. They are either endemic to California or at the southern end of their ranges. Most are in serious decline: 45% and 74% of all salmonids will likely become extirpated from California in the next 50 and 100 years, respectively, if present trends continue. Our results suggest that California will lose more than half (52%) of its native anadromous salmonids and nearly a third (30%) of its inland taxa in just 50 years under current conditions. Climate change is a major overarching threat driving population declines throughout California and strongly affects the status of 84% of all salmonids reviewed. In addition, dams, agricultural operations, estuary alteration, non-native species, production hatcheries, and myriad other human-induced threats have contributed to declines. 81% of salmonids in California are now worse off than they were in 2007, when the previous version of this report was prepared. The changes in species status are the result of the 2012-2016 historic drought, improved data collection and review, and an improved understanding of climate change impacts. Returning these iconic species to sustainable levels requires access to productive and diverse habitats which promote the full range of life history diversity necessary to weather change. We recommend (i) protecting and investing in fully functioning watersheds such as the Smith River and Blue Creek, (ii) protecting and restoring source waters such as Sierra meadow systems, groundwater, and springs so that the impacts of climate change are reduced, (iii) restoring function and access to once productive and diverse habitats such as Central Valley floodplains, coastal lagoons, and estuaries, (iv) adopting reconciliation ecology as a basis for management in human dominated landscapes, (v) improving habitat connectivity and passage to historical spawning and rearing habitat, and (vi) improving salmonid genetic management throughout California.

Product Description

California has, or had, 32 distinct kinds of salmonid fishes. They are either endemic to California or at the southern end of their ranges. Most are in serious decline: 45% and 74% of all salmonids will likely become extirpated from California in the next 50 and 100 years, respectively, if present trends continue. Our results suggest that California will lose more than half (52%) of its native anadromous salmonids and nearly a third (30%) of its inland taxa in just 50 years under current conditions. Climate change is a major overarching threat driving population declines throughout California and strongly affects the status of 84% of all salmonids reviewed. In addition, dams, agricultural operations, estuary alteration, non-native species, production hatcheries, and myriad other human-induced threats have contributed to declines. 81% of salmonids in California are now worse off than they were in 2007, when the previous version of this report was prepared. The changes in species status are the result of the 2012-2016 historic drought, improved data collection and review, and an improved understanding of climate change impacts. Returning these iconic species to sustainable levels requires access to productive and diverse habitats which promote the full range of life history diversity necessary to weather change. We recommend (i) protecting and investing in fully functioning watersheds such as the Smith River and Blue Creek, (ii) protecting and restoring source waters such as Sierra meadow systems, groundwater, and springs so that the impacts of climate change are reduced, (iii) restoring function and access to once productive and diverse habitats such as Central Valley floodplains, coastal lagoons, and estuaries, (iv) adopting reconciliation ecology as a basis for management in human dominated landscapes, (v) improving habitat connectivity and passage to historical spawning and rearing habitat, and (vi) improving salmonid genetic management throughout California.

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SOS-II_Final-1

Keywords:

anadromous fish, ecosystem management, endangered species, fisheries, native fish, Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta