NOAA seeks endangered designation for summer-run steelhead

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have filed a request to list the Northern California summer-run steelhead as an “endangered distinct population segment” under the Endangered Species Act.

NMFS submitted its 90-day petition to review the summer-run steelhead species. Anyone seeking to submit commercial or scientific information on the species should send materials to NMFS or NOAA by June 21. The petition will ultimately be used to determine whether the summer-run steelhead should be designated as endangered.

Summer-run and winter-run steelheads are both lumped together as an endangered distinct population segment (DPS), but NOAA now states the steelhead populations should be separated.

“[NOAA] presents new genetic evidence to suggest the summer-run steelhead populations may qualify as a separate DPS from the winter-run populations,” the Federal Register notice stated. “[NOAA] contends the findings from recently published articles on the evolutionary basis of premature migration in Pacific salmon … indicate that summer-run steelhead in the [Northern California] steelhead DPS should be considered a separate DPS.”

Contact Gary Rule, NMFS West Coast Region, at gary.rule@noaa.gov, 503-230-5424 or Heather Austin, NMFS Office of Protected Resources, at heather.austin@noaa.gov, 301-427-8422, for questions or more information.

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