Action timeline

August 18, 1997 – The National Marine Fisheries Service listed central California coast steelhead as a threatened species. The Service ignored its duty to designate critical habitat.

1999 – The Center organized a coalition of eight conservation and fishing groups that sued the Fisheries Service for failure to designate critical habitat and to issue protective regulations for west coast steelhead and salmon populations.

February 16, 2000 – The Fisheries Service designated critical habitat for central California coast steelhead and 18 other West Coast salmonid populations. It also published protective regulations for West Coast steelhead that prevent illegal "take" of central California coast steelhead.

July 10, 2000 – The Service published protective regulations for listed West Coast salmon and steelhead populations.

April 2002 – Critical habitat protections were withdrawn when the Bush administration refused to defend the Service against a lawsuit brought by the National Association of Home Builders.

December 10, 2004 – The Service agreed to consider re-establishing the habitat protections after a lawsuit by a coalition of environmental and fishing groups, including the Center.

September 2, 2005 – Critical habitat was re-designated, but severely reduced.

January 5, 2006 – The Service reaffirmed the threatened status of central California coast steelhead, but arbitrarily excluded resident and juvenile fish from the listed populations.

September 2, 2009 – The Center and a coalition of conservation and commercial fishing organizations sent a letter to the California legislature opposing a flawed Delta bill package and opposing the approval of an environmentally destructive “peripheral canal.” The dams that would result from the bill package, along with the canal, had the potential to devastate the Bay-Delta ecosystem and its native fisheries.

November 17, 2009 – The Center, Northern California River Watch, and Coast Action Group sent a notice of intent to sue California's State Water Board for allowing water diversions by vineyards to harm federally protected salmon and steelhead in the Russian River and Gualala River watersheds.

January 20, 2010 – The California State Water Resources Board announced it would draft regulations on water diversions by vineyards to protect imperiled coho salmon and steelhead in the Russian River watershed.

June-July 2011 – The Center attended California Water Board hearings to fight a permit that would allow a private rancher to legally withdraw more than half a billion gallons of water each year from the Big Sur River, one of the steelhead's last viable runs.

California steelhead trout photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/sara