The Sisquoc River and the Cayuma River meet to form the Santa Maria River which flows to the Pacific Ocean. This watershed has been designated as having the highest level of importance for Southern California Steelhead recovery. Portions of the Sisquoc river within the Los Padres National Forest have been federally designated as Wild and Scenic. As such, this river provides high quality of habitat due to the lack of development. To reach this desirable habitat, fish must first travel the length of the Santa Maria River. Reduced surface flows have limited the opportunities for fish passage. Due to the importance of this stream, a barriers assessment has been conducted and a number of passage removal projects have been completed, which has improved passage into and within the river.
Through funding provided by the Fisheries Restoration Grant Program, The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and its partners plan to perform extensive habitat assessment surveys to characterize steelhead habitat throughout the Sisquoc River and its tributaries. This data will be used to further guide restoration and resource management decisions.