Stewardship of the Golden Trout in California
Genesis of The Golden Trout Project
The TU South Coast Chapter started organizing volunteers for Labor Day Weekends in the GTW in the late 1980's. 150 to 175 members would help. The effort started to decline in the 1990s. Stream restoration work was largely the focus. CDFG fisheries biologist would set the agenda for the volunteer efforts. The Aqua Bonita Fly Fishers also played a key role.
Renewed Effort in 2000
More recently, the work priorities were generally to determine where populations of California golden trout existed. Given hybridization with rainbow trout, an important step would be getting DNA analysis of the populations from U.C. Davis. Once the purer strains were identified, the efforts would focus on habitat restoration and habitat protection (e.g., fencing to keep livestock away and in-stream barriers to keep non-native trout species from predation or hybridization).
Besides performing population estimates, the ability to see the impact of habitat protection over time has shown the work is paying off. Overall, the projects are reviewed each year with CDFG.
Public Involvement with and Awareness of the Golden Trout Ecosystem
Most of all, the GTP has created a working partnership between multiple groups including TU, CalTrout, CDFG, USFS, and Federation of Fly Fishers. This partership allows the public to work shoulder to shoulder with CDFG in protecting and preserving a key natural resource. The GTP is also raising awareness in the angling community throughout the country about this native species and it's habitat. Moving beyond just the angling community, an effort is underway to get more information in the hands of educators to use in the public schools.
If you want to get involved and volunteer, then take a look at some of the volunteer projects coming up this summer. Read more here.
Information about the Golden Trout Project provided by Howard Kern - Volunteer Coordinator of the Golden Trout Project.