Did you know that the Paso Robles Creek that flows through the Vineyard Elementary School Nature Trail once hosted steelhead trout?
Coastal rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus, and its anadromous form known as steelhead trout, are native to Pacific Coast streams from Alaska to Baja. Anadromous fish refers to those that migrate from freshwater rivers to the ocean and back to spawn in their natal streams.Steelhead trout once were common in many northern San Luis Obispo County tributaries of the Salinas River.
The Paso Robles Creek that flows through the Vineyard Elementary School Trail is one of those tributaries where steelhead trout once lived.
Over the past century, steelhead trout populations in California have declined to the point that steelhead trout populations are listed as Threatened or Endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Reasons for the decline include blocked access to spawning grounds, habitat fragmentation, urbanization, watershed pollution and development.
The Land Conservancy of San Luis Obispo County is one of the local nonprofits working to conserve habitats, restore stream flows and educate the public about this important species. We hope to someday see steelhead trout return to local Salinas River tributaries.