Making A Splash

A Russian River Steelhead (or rainbow) trout. (CalTrout)
A Russian River Steelhead (or rainbow) trout. (CalTrout)

CalTrout makes historic commitment for endowed chair at UC Davis.

Jacob Katz (left), director of California Trout's salmon and steelhead initiatives, and Professor Peter Moyle on the Yolo Bypass, where their research is evaluating the importance of the area of juvenile salmon. (Carson Jeffres | UC Davis)

California's wild trout, steelhead, and salmon gained a valuable resource with the formal creation in May of the Peter B. Moyle and California Trout Endowed Chair in Cold Water Fishes at UC Davis.


For more than 40 years, the conservation organization California Trout has supported numerous efforts to protect and restore wild trout, steelhead, salmon and their waters throughout the state. Moyle, a professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, is the foremost authority on California's native freshwater and anadromous (sea-run) fishes and has been a leader in research and conservation efforts.

"Peter has been an invaluable resource and instrumental in establishing such a strong scientific foundation in our work," said CalTrout's executive director Jeff Thompson. "We're thankful that this endowment helps ensure that another wild-fish champion can follow in his footsteps."

California Trout's executive director Jeff Thompson fly-fishing on the McCloud River. Thompson played a crucial role in establishing CalTrout's partnership with UC Davis. (Michael Weir | CalTrout)

The endowment provides crucial support for the chair holder's scholarly activities, teaching, and public service involving cold water fish and aquatic ecosystems. He or she will teach department courses, mentor graduate students, conduct research and outreach, and provide leadership in the conservation of cold water fishes and their ecosystems. A memorandum of understanding between CalTrout and the university recognizes that salmon, trout, and steelhead are the major drivers of many conservation efforts and will have the highest priority in the chair's program.


Moyle has played a critical role in virtually every planning initiative dealing with California rivers, the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, and the San Francisco Bay. His research has provided the core science essential to statewide conservation planning for freshwater and estuarine native fishes, especially salmon and trout. Graduate students who studied with Moyle now occupy many of the top-level fish ecologist and management positions in state and federal agencies, as well as at key nonprofits.

Most of the contributors to the endowment are CalTrout board members. Board member Nick Graves and his wife, Mary Graves, explored many trails and trout waters in the Sierra Nevada during 30 years of pack trips, and also have enjoyed the larger rivers flowing from the Trinity Alps, Mt. Shasta, and the Siskiyou Mountains. "The opportunity to create a scientific chair whose research targets California waters, in perpetuity, is a comforting thought," Graves said.

"I have worked with the organization since its earliest days and have always admired the dedication of its members to aquatic conservation," Moyle said. "I am biased, of course, but I think CalTrout has made a very smart investment in the future by creating an endowed chair."


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