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Central California coast steelhead trout
San Jose Mercury News, August 20, 2010

Court upholds protections for Calif wild steelhead
By The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO—A federal appeals court has upheld protections for wild steelhead trout in California rivers, rejecting a challenge by Central Valley farmers to the fish's endangered status.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that federal fisheries regulators acted within the law by protecting the steelhead under the Endangered Species Act.

Farmers argued that National Marine Fisheries Services officials should have to consider rainbow trout in its count of the steelhead population. Rainbow trout are steelhead that do not migrate to the ocean.

The court found that the Act did not require the agency to consider the fish as the same species even if they interbreed.

The decision upholds a 2008 ruling by the U.S. District Court in Fresno.

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Photo © Paul S. Hamilton