Trout Unlimited, TNC, CalTrout urge California Governor Gavin Newsom to sign drought resilience bill


June 10, 2024


Sam Davidson Trout Unlimited –, (831) 235-2542
Heather Gately, The Nature Conservancy –, (916) 449-2850
Redgie Collins, California Trout –, (415) 748-8755

Healthy River Advocates Urge Support for Bill to Improve Climate Resilience in Coastal Watersheds
AB 1272 would advance the Governor’s Salmon Strategy

Sacramento—The California Salmon and Steelhead Coalition, a partnership comprised of California Trout, The Nature Conservancy, and Trout Unlimited, is calling on Governor Newsom to support Assembly Bill 1272 (Wood). This bill will ensure a climate-resilient future for California’s coastal watersheds, which support vibrant communities, important ecosystems, and iconic species.

The bill, authored by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), directs the State Water Resources Control Board and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop guidelines for water use in certain coastal watersheds during times of water shortage. These principles and guidelines will allow for the development of locally generated watershed-level plans to protect public trust uses, public health and safety, and the human right to water. The plans will help water users anticipate how their businesses and communities will be impacted by drought, providing an incentive to invest in solutions that increase preparedness. AB 1272 passed both houses of the legislature in 2023 without opposition and awaits being sent to the Governor for his signature. 

The bill was developed in partnership with the Karuk Tribe and the Yurok Tribe, and is supported by the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, along with a broad array of environmental organizations and salmon advocates. The bill focuses on watersheds that are critical for recovering culturally and economically important salmon populations across the North and Central Coast of California.

Since AB 1272 was passed by the Senate and the Assembly, Governor Newsom released his Salmon Strategy for a Hotter, Dryer Future , which identifies several actions the bill would support. The Salmon Strategy calls for the establishment of standards for instream flows and water rights administration, locally-driven solutions to improve fisheries and water supply reliability, and cooperative water-saving practices, all of which are at the heart of AB 1272. The bill will facilitate the implementation of key actions in the Salmon Strategy that will help California’s coastal communities and the salmon populations they rely on.

“Drought is not an episodic event and has not been for decades,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), author of AB 1272. “The periods of drought are longer, more frequent and severe and seriously threaten the long-term health of rivers and streams and the wildlife that inhabit them as well as the water needs of our communities. As with many of the serious effects of climate change, we can’t keep responding on an ad hoc basis to every drought. Now is the time for California to prepare for drought and better manage our coastal watersheds to assure that the environment and wildlife are protected and that our communities have the water they need when they need it.”

Redgie Collins, Legal and Policy Director for California Trout emphasized the importance of proactive measures, saying, “AB 1272 provides a critical framework for addressing the water scarcity challenges exacerbated by climate change. By planning at the watershed level, we can incentivize and implement tailored drought response measures that protect both our ecosystems and water resources, ensuring sustainability for future generations.”

Matt Clifford, California Director for Trout Unlimited, added, “This bill is a significant step towards safeguarding our native fish species and the overall health of our coastal watersheds. AB 1272 will help us develop comprehensive strategies that respond to immediate drought conditions and enhance long-term resilience and water reliability.”

Liz Forsburg Pardi, Director of External Affairs and Policy for The Nature Conservancy highlighted the bill’s environmental impact, stating, “AB 1272 is crucial for the protection and recovery of our coastal watersheds. This bill will enhance the climate resilience of California’s coastal watersheds and ensure they can balance the needs of people and nature.”


About – The Salmon & Steelhead Coalition is a strategic partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Trout Unlimited, and California Trout that works to restore salmon and steelhead rivers on California’s North and Central Coasts. We coordinate on science, on-the-ground projects, and local and state policy that advance our mission to support both the water supply needs of people and the recovery of coho salmon and steelhead.