Protecting and Restoring the Morro Bay Estuary.
Oncorhynchus mykiss

Field Updates December 2021: Water Quality Monitoring and Local Steelhead Populations

A steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) was captured from the Chorro Creek sub-watershed and measured before safely being released back into the water.

Steelhead in the Morro Bay Watershed  One of the fascinating creatures living in our local creeks is the South Central California Coast Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss). This genetically-distinct population of steelhead is found exclusively from the Pajaro River to the Santa Maria River, and while historically abundant, they were listed as “Threatened” by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 1997 due to rapidly declining numbers. This species continues to struggle due to habitat loss, lack of water, and competition with invasive species.   Steelhead belong to the Salmonidae family, along with other species of trout and salmon. Steelhead are anadromous, meaning they are born in freshwater streams, migrate out to sea for several years, and …

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Look Who’s Swimming in the Estuary Program Nature Center…Trout!

The steelhead trout eggs were transported to us in protective netting.

  If you’ve been to the Estuary Program Nature Center, you’ve probably seen our Saving Steelhead exhibit. Many visitors stop and watch, entranced, as the fish dart by. It’s important for us to share the steelhead’s story. Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) are a special kind of trout. While they are genetically identical to rainbow trout, their behavior sets them apart. Rainbow trout spend their entire lives in freshwater. Steelhead trout hatch in freshwater streams and then migrate to the ocean. They grow big at sea, before returning to the stream where they hatched to spawn. Steelhead are a sensitive species. They …

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