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State now lists summer steelhead in the Eel River as endangered

June 30, 2021 — Summer steelhead have been listed as endangered under the state endangered species act, which some conservationists believe will ease the way to seeking protections for them. 

Summer steelhead have a different life cycle from their winter-run cousins, and a differentiating genetic marker on one chromosome. Samantha Kannry is a fisheries ecologist who has been studying them in the van Duzen, a major tributary of the Eel River, since 2010. She recently published her masters thesis, “On the Ecology and Distribution of Steelhead in the Eel River,” in the Journal of Heredity, with the Oxford University Press. She knows the nuances of fish populations, but she’s also moved by the joy of swimming with both varieties of steelhead.

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