The Ventura River has been designated as a high priority system for steelhead recovery action by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Historically, the Ventura River was home to one of the largest steelhead runs in Southern California. Extensive land and water use development for residential and agricultural needs, has resulted in a greatly altered hydrologic regime. This has led to a dramatic decrease in steelhead abundance due to loss of habitat, anthropogenic barriers to migration and detrimental effects on water quality.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife in association with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and other partnering organizations have begun a monitoring program to gather the data needed to guide restoration projects and resource management decisions in the Ventura River Basin through funding provided by the Fisheries Restoration Grants Program. The monitoring program will obtain quantitative data on steelhead abundance, spawning behavior, and habitat availability through a combination of biological surveys and the use of DIDSON sonar cameras. At this time, habitat assessment surveys, spawner surveys, and juvenile presence/absence surveys are underway. Additionally, a DIDSON sonar camera site has been established to track migrating adults and smolts.
DIDSON camera deployed in the Ventura River - 2012
Courtesy of Chris Lima, CDFW