The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has been rearing and stocking fish in the inland waters of California since the late 1800s when new legislation required the restoration and preservation of fish in state waters. This legislation called for the newly formed California State Fish and Game Commission to establish “fish breederies” to stock and supply streams, lakes, and bays with both foreign and domestic fish. In the early 1900s, CDFW assumed responsibility for the state for stocking hatchery trout into California lakes and rivers. Since 1945, CDFW has assumed responsibility for the rearing and stocking of both inland and anadromous fish species at 21 hatcheries and planting bases located throughout the state. CDFW currently stock trout in high mountain lakes, low elevation reservoirs, and various streams and creeks throughout California. Salmon have been planted mostly in rivers and direct tributaries to the Pacific Ocean, with the exception of inland kokanee, coho, and Chinook salmon populations that have been planted in reservoirs for recreational fishing.
In 2006, a lawsuit was filed by the Pacific Rivers Council and the Center for Biological Diversity against CDFW claiming that CDFW's fish stocking operation did not comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). In July, 2007, CDFW was ordered by the Sacramento Superior Court to comply with CEQA regarding its fish stocking operations. CDFW will be completing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to comply with the court order. In order to create a more comprehensive document, the EIR will also address CDFW hatchery operations and the issuance of Private Stocking Permits. The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has agreed to serve as the co-lead for the joint EIR/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and will evaluate the issuance of funds in support of CDFW hatchery operations.
CDFW developed a joint EIR/EIS that was released January 11,
Final CDFW Hatchery EIR/EIS
(PDF file downloads)