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C&E-1.2

Twitchell Dam

  • Goal: Protect Endangered Steelhead from the Negative Effects of Twitchell Dam
  • Year Started: 2017
  • Client Los Padres ForestWatch

The Environmental Defense Center has always prioritized the protection of endangered Southern California Steelhead Trout, a keystone species which used to number in the tens of thousands across our region. The Twitchell Dam, located east of Santa Maria on the Cuyama River, has been identified as a major problem, preventing steelhead from reaching their historic breeding grounds. The Dam limits the timing and quantity of flow in the main stem of the Santa Maria River, preventing steelhead from reaching the Sisquoc River which is the most important spawning tributary within the stream network.

In 2017, EDC and our client Los Padres ForestWatch, along with our partner San Luis Obispo Coastkeeper, filed a lawsuit to compel the Santa Maria Valley Water Conservation District to modify its operations of the Dam to ensure sufficient water is available to protect this endangered species while replenishing groundwater.

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