Menu
Contact Us Search

Science Spotlight

Science Institute News

rss

Recent accomplishments of CDFW's scientific community


New Heritage Trout Production Program for Inland Fisheries

New Heritage Trout Production Program for Inland Fisheries

a ten-inch trout with a red band on its side, held in a man's two palms
a man wearing a California Fish and Wildlife uniform gently eases a 15-inch trout into a clear stream
underwater in a clear lake, a large trout swims from a bucket to freedom
three redband trout swim close to riverbottom rocks
15 redband trout swim together, close to tan and gold-colored riverbed rocks

For more than a century, CDFW’s Trout Hatchery and Stocking Program has been providing recreational fishing opportunities to anglers throughout California. Today, the trout hatchery program is composed of 13 hatcheries, which oversee 20 distinct fish production programs to produce 17 strains, species and subspecies of trout.

McCloud River Redband Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss stonei) is the latest addition to the CDFW’s production and release efforts. McCloud River Redband Trout is a unique sub-species of rainbow trout endemic to the upper McCloud River area of Shasta and Siskiyou counties of northern California. This fish has beautiful coloration and unique adult characteristics – a pronounced crimson lateral stripe, adult parr marks, relatively large black dorsal spotting, yellow-white hues on the underbelly and white-tipped fins.

The new production and stocking program for McCloud River Redband Trout at Mt. Shasta Fish Hatchery will focus on the upper McCloud River, including McCloud Reservoir. Given that stocking will occur solely within the historic watershed of McCloud River Redband Trout, the program is distinguished by CDFW as a Heritage Trout Production Program. A Heritage Trout is defined as a species of trout native to California, in its native habitat and area. This type of fishery represents the most natural form of aquatic habitat, species and angling opportunity available. Many anglers seeking additional challenges and goals will specifically pursue heritage trout fisheries.

While modern genetics management and conservation hatchery methods are utilized in the McCloud River Redband program, the hatchery-produced fish are primarily for recreational angling and not for release to areas containing wild and genetically pure McCloud River Redband Trout in their natural habitat. This ensures that the most wild populations remain in their native habitat and can continue local adaptation without hatchery influence. CDFW expects the McCloud River Redband Trout program to reach full implementation by 2019-20. The McCloud River Redband program demonstrates CDFW’s progress and commitment to conservation efforts and fisheries management.

CDFW trout hatcheries will continue to produce and stock several strains and species of trout statewide to promote trout angling opportunities, and contribute to the conservation of California’s native species and sub-species of trout. One of the next priorities for the department’s trout hatchery program will commence in 2018, and focus on advancing the Kern River Rainbow Trout program at CDFWs’ Kern River Planting Base.

CDFW Fish and Wildlife Technician Beau Jones stocking McCloud River Redband Trout in August 2017. CDFW photos by hatchery staff.


Wildlife Corridors at Yolo Bypass Will Help Animals Escape Flooding

Wildlife Corridors at Yolo Bypass Will Help Animals Escape Flooding

sunset paints clouds coral, in a blue sky over a flooded plain
a picnic table is lodged 20 feet high in a four-trunked tree on a plain that was recently flooded
Eight teenagers work around a picnic table covered in green plants
Five teenagers plant seedlings in cups atop a picnic table
a row of 11 trays full of green plant seedlings in a nursery setting

CDFW’s Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area serves two critical – but sometimes competing – needs.

The 16,670 acres of riparian and agricultural habitat in Yolo County provide a refuge and an all-you-can-eat buffet for migratory waterfowl and resident wildlife to the west of Sacramento and the increasingly urbanized surrounding communities.

The wildlife area is also a key cog in the Sacramento region’s flood control system. In wet years, the vast flood plain accommodates massive water diversions from the nearby Sacramento, Feather and Yuba river systems to prevent flooding in populated areas and to relieve pressure on strained river levees.

With the drought-busting rains and snow received last winter, the wildlife area resembled an inland ocean for the thousands of daily commuters traveling the Interstate-80 Yolo Causeway, which crosses the northern edge of the wildlife area. The floodwaters stretched as far as the eye could see, reaching depths of 20 feet in some places, and submerging almost every natural feature underneath. The consequences were dire for wildlife unable to escape.

Pheasants, deer, raccoons, and small rodents of all kinds were among the victims. Some were overcome by the rising water, some starved while waiting out the floodwaters in trees or isolated patches of high ground, others were picked off by predators stalking the water line for fleeing prey.

As a result, efforts are now underway to help the area’s wildlife survive future flooding. The Yolo County Resource Conservation District has secured almost $700,000 in Proposition 1 state water project funds to build two wildlife escape habitat corridors and a demonstration garden over the next four years. The project includes partnerships with CDFW, Yolo Basin Foundation, Center for Land-Based Learning, Putah Creek Council, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Point Blue Conservation Science.

The demonstration garden will serve as an educational component for visitors near the wildlife area’s entrance. Two other corridors in the southern end of the wildlife area will stretch more than 5 miles total and include 22 acres of native grass seeding for nesting and cover. The corridors will run parallel to the Putah Creek channel, which is the only existing natural escape route now on the refuge.

“These corridors are basically like wildlife roads,” said Jeffrey Stoddard, the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area manager for CDFW.

The floodwaters advance slowly enough that even the smallest animals can escape, Stoddard explained, provided they head in the right direction and don’t get exposed to predators along the way.

“We have blocks of escape habitat now, but we will be creating connectivity, moving animals from the east side that is deeper to the west side that is higher ground,” he said.

The corridors will consist of a mix of flood-tolerant native shrubs, grasses and forbs that will provide escape routes to high ground, protection from predators, food, and good habitat year-round.

The corridor work began in June with Putah Creek Council student interns collecting wild rose, red stem dogwood and coyote brush clippings for propagating and use as plant stock for the wildlife corridors.

Photos courtesy of CDFW, the Putah Creek Council and the Yolo County Resource Conservation District. Students pictured are interns from the Putah Creek Council’s One Creek Restoration Internship program.



Recent Posts

  • Sweetwater River Habitat Restoration Posted 18 hours ago
    California’s drought emergency was officially declared to be over last year, but its deleterious impact on fish habitat is still being felt in many parts of the state -- especially in arid parts of Southern California. In order to ...
  • CDFW Unveils New Tool Allowing Public to Report Seeing Tule (And Other) Elk Posted last week
    CDFW wants to know if, when and where you’ve seen an elk in California – and they’ve just created a new online reporting tool that makes it easy for members of the public to share this information. CDFW scientists will ...
  • Creating Habitat in a Drawn-Down Lake Posted 2 weeks ago
    Brush habitats were created and put into Lake Perris to provide fish with habitat to feed and reproduce. The habitats will be completely submersed when the lake is filled to capacity. The exposed lakebed gave CDFW fisheries biologists the opportunity ...
  • California Fish and Game, Issue 103(4) Posted 2 weeks ago
    The latest issue of California Fish and Game, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s scientific journal, is now available online! Issue 103(4) features articles that add to the knowledge base for three marine species, all of which face ...
  • Going with the Flow: CDFW’s Water Branch Keeps a Careful Eye on California’s Riverine Resources Posted last month
    Surveying Ventura River in Ventura County Snorkel survey in Hollow Tree Creek in Mendocino County Hollow Tree Creek steelhead Taking care of California’s fish and wildlife wouldn’t be possible without managing the resources upon which they depend. To that end, CDFW has ...
Read More »

CDFW Science Institute logo