Lost Coast Wild Steelhead Initiative

What Is It?

Wild Steelheaders United is supporting a conservation campaign in the northwest corner of California committed to protecting some of the last, best public lands and waters along the fabled Lost Coast.

The Lost Coast is renowned for its wild steelhead and salmon streams, among them legendary rivers such as the Trinity, Eel, and Mattole, and still has some of the best steelhead habitat and wild steelhead runs in the Lower 48. Most of this habitat – and the lands which buffer it – is found on public lands.

The Northwest California Mountains and Rivers coalition has worked with local stakeholders and Rep. Jared Huffman to build legislation that will accomplish this broad conservation goal, which has three primary elements:

  1. Protect intact habitat and water sources, especially in areas important for steelhead and salmon, and the wild character of streams that qualify for Wild & Scenic River designation
  2. Restore overgrown forests and areas damaged by trespass marijuana cultivation
  3. Support local communities and economies by improving access and infrastructure for outdoor recreation

There is a strong correlation between lands and waters with wild character and good spawning and rearing habitat for steelhead and salmon. Special designations for deserving lands and waters ensure that these resources are managed primarily to protect their wild qualities, habitat values, and existing recreational uses such as fishing and hunting. Rep. Huffman’s bill, the Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act, would provide new Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River designations, preserve existing legal roads and trails, and help reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire.


Protect Wild steelhead & salmon Streams

The Lost Coast retains some of the most famous—and productive—salmon and steelhead streams in North America. But even here, we have lost thousands of stream-miles of steelhead and salmon habitat since the 1950s due to legacy forestry practices, dams and other development. In this time of warming climate and unrelenting human demand for natural resources, it is more important than ever to protect the functional fish habitat that remains. The Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation and Working Forests Act does this. It was built from the ground up, over years of discussions between local government, private sector and public interest stakeholders (including local fishing guides and charter businesses). Go here to learn more about this legislation, and how you can support it.


join us

We steelheaders share a common vision of the future of wild steelhead and know what has to be done to bring them back. Together, we can make that vision a reality. With millions of dollars, countless staff and volunteer hours invested in restoring wild steelhead habitat, Trout Unlimited has launched the Wild Steelhead Initiative to make sure those investments (along with the efforts of countless other organizations) pay dividends. For more information please visit tu.org.