California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Fish Species of Special Concern

Fish species of special concern

List and Species Accounts

The following information is from the 1995 Department of Fish and Wildlife publication “Fish Species of Special Concern in California, Second Edition,” by P. B. Moyle, R. M. Yoshiyama, J. E. Williams, and E. D. Wikramanayake

List Criteria and Categories

In this species of special concern report there are species accounts on 55 taxa, of which 26 are recommended by the authors for threatened or endangered status in California and 27 others are regarded as needing special attention to prevent further declines. Two of the species are probably extinct in the state (pink salmon, High Rock Spring tui chub), but are included because some uncertainty about their status still exists. Since the report was published, the Spring-run chinook salmon have been listed by the State as threatened.

Presently, nine native fish taxa (including the two above) are extinct in California, and 18 are formally listed as threatened or endangered. The remaining 38 of the 116 native fish taxa are considered still to be secure.

Information on the biology of each taxon from the literature and from unpublished sources was compiled and analyzed by Moyle, Yoshiyama, Williams, and Wikramanayake. Then the authors gave each taxon a status rating. This rating was assigned only after consultation with other individuals knowledgeable about the species, although Moyle, Yoshiyama, Williams, and Wikramanayake take full responsibility for the final status assignments. The rating system used by was as follows:

Class 1. Endangered or Threatened

These are 26 taxa that conform to the state definitions of threatened or endangered species and could qualify for addition to the official list. This designation does not necessarily mean that the fishes should be added to the list; formal listing may be justifiably avoided or postponed, provided there are ongoing efforts to protect and enhance populations of these fishes, as is currently happening for the four taxa of Goose Lake fishes.

Class 2. Special Concern

These 12 taxa have low, scattered, or highly localized populations and require active management to prevent them from becoming Class 1 species. Most of these species have declined in abundance in recent years and need to have this trend reversed. Some of the species (e.g., Death Valley pupfishes) have highly localized populations that are stable but are faced with long-term environmental threats that may cause a sudden diminution in numbers.

Class 3. Watch List

These are 15 taxa occupying much of their native range, but were formerly more widespread or abundant within that range. Taxa with very restricted distributions (e.g., Eagle Lake tui chub) are also included here. The populations of such species need to be assessed periodically (i.e., every five years) and included in long-term plans for protected waterways (e.g., ADMAs).

Class 4. Secure

These are the 38 species or forms not extinct, not listed as threatened or endangered, and not included in this report. We assume, often based on extremely limited data, that their populations are either stable, expanding or, if declining, still reasonably abundant.

Fish Species of Special Concern List

Within each priority category, species are listed in taxonomic order, not in any order of priority.

For more information on the species listed below, use the CDFW's Species Explorer. Please note, the Species Explorer is still being worked on. Not all species might appear in the database.

Class 1. Qualify as Endangered:
Southern Steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus
* Spring-run Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Pink Salmon Oncorhynchus gorbuscha
Chum Salmon Oncorhynchus keta
Longfin Smelt Spirinchus thaleichthys
Cowhead Lake Tui Chub Gila bicolor vaccaceps
High Rock Spring Tui Chub Gila bicolor ssp.
Red Hills Roach Lavinia symmetricus ssp.
Santa Ana Speckled Dace Rhinichthys osculus ssp.
Shoshone Pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis shoshone
Shay Creek Threespine Stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus ssp.
Tidewater Goby Eucyclogobius newberryi

Class 1. Qualify as Threatened:
Goose Lake Lamprey Lampetra tridentata ssp.
Green Sturgeon Acipenser medirostris
Coho Salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch
Summer Steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus
Eagle Lake Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss aquilarum
Goose Lake Redband Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.
McCloud River Redband Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.
Goose Lake Tui Chub Gila bicolor thalassina
Sacramento Splittail Pogonichthys macrolepidotus
Amargosa Canyon Speckled Dace Rhinichthys osculus ssp.
Owens Speckled Dace Rhinichthys osculus ssp.
Goose Lake Sucker Catostomus occidentalis lacusanserinus
Santa Ana Sucker Catostomus santaanae
Saratoga Springs Pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis nevadensis
Amargosa Pupfish Cyprinodon nevadensis amargosae
Salt Creek Pupfish Cyprinodon salinus salinus

Class 2. Special Concern:
Kern Brook Lamprey Lampetra hubbsi
Late-fall Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Kern River Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss gilberti
Volcano Creek Golden Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss aguabonita
Coastal Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarki clarki
Blue Chub Gila coerulea
Arroyo Chub (Qualified as Threatened Species in native range) Gila orcutti
Clear Lake Hitch Lavinia exilicauda chi
Pit Roach Lavinia symmetricus mitrulus
Sacramento Perch (Special Concern status for Clear Lake population,
Watch List for populations outside native range.)
Archoplites interruptus
Klamath Largescale Sucker Catostomus snyderi
Russian River Tule Perch Hysterocarpus traski pomo

Class 3. Watch List:
Klamath River Lamprey Lampetra similis
River Lamprey Lampetra ayresi
Eulachon Thaleichthys pacificus
Lahontan Lake Tui Chub Gila bicolor pectinifer
Eagle Lake Tui Chub Gila bicolor ssp.
San Joaquin Roach Lavinia symmetricus ssp.
Monterey Roach Lavinia symmetricus subditus
Navarro Roach Lavinia symmetricus navarroensis
Tomales Roach Lavinia symmetricus ssp.
Gualala Roach Lavinia symmetricus parvipinnis
Hardhead Mylopharodon conocephalus
Owens Sucker Catostomus fumeiventris
Mountain Sucker Catostomus platyrhynchus
Bigeye Marbled Sculpin Cottus klamathensis macrops
Reticulate Sculpin Cottus perplexus

* denotes a species currently listed as threatened or endangered by the State.

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