Protecting Central Valley Steelhead

In a case that lasted seven years, Earthjustice succeeded in maintaining Endangered Species Act protection for Central Valley steelhead.

Case Overview

Steelhead once returned from the ocean in the millions every year to the Sacramento and San Joaquin River systems in the Central Valley. Today, these fish have been lost from 95% of their historic habitat, and they continue to face threats from unchecked water use, blockage by dams, urban sprawl, and polluted rivers.

A group of irrigation districts filed suit to strip Endangered Species Act protections from steelhead trout that spawn in rivers that flow through the Central Valley in California.

Earthjustice represented fishing organizations and conservation groups trying to maintain the protections.

A male steelhead ready for release.
A male steelhead ready for release. (Photo courtesy of Nils Rinaldi)

Case Updates

June 16, 2011 Article

Awash In Water and Profits, Cal Growers Denied More

The fight over the health of the Sacramento/Bay delta is a fight over the most important estuary on the west coast of north America.

August 20, 2010 document

Ninth Circuit Decidion on CA Steelhead

August 20, 2010 Press Release: Victory

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Protection for California's Wild Steelhead

Central Valley irrigators had argued for removal of endangered species protections