Santa Clara River
The Santa Clara River is high priority watershed for Southern California Steelhead recovery action. Historically, the Santa Clara supported the fourth largest steelhead runs in the region. Extensive agricultural and urban development has led to a reduction in surface flow and migration impediments. This has decreased opportunities for anadromous fish to reach high quality spawning habitat in tributaries like Sespe Creek, a federally designated Wild and Scenic River and into Santa Paula Creek. The Department is working with various State and Federal agencies, non-profit groups, citizen’s groups and municipalities along the river to address passage and in-stream flow needs while balancing the region’s other uses of water.
The CDFW is reaching out to several partner organizations in the area to establish long term steelhead population monitoring stations along the Santa Clara and its tributaries. Comparing annual changes in abundance, population dynamics, and habitat utilization will serve to evaluate the effectiveness of restoration work and guide future management of this large and important watershed.