Streams play an integral role in maintaining biodiversity of the Bay Area and for this reason the Riparian/Fish Focus Team chose all Bay Area streams as conservation targets. They also chose to divide the streams into priority categories to indicate relative importance. Priority rankings do not increase or decrease conservation goals but focus attention on the most important streams and watersheds, especially for listed anadromous fish and important assemblages of native fishes. For a full discussion, see Chapter 5: Fine Filter: Riparian Habitat and Fish.
All Priority 1 and 2 streams, along with the data source and justification for the priority ranking, are listed in Appendix E, Priority 1 and 2 Streams. Priority 1 and 2 streams can also be found on the Conservation Lands Network Explorer,
Priority 1 Streams
Priority 1 streams and watersheds have existing steelhead populations, available rearing habitat, and current or historic coho populations that must be conserved and/or restored as soon as possible for fish conservation to be effective. Restoring flows is essential to the conservation of these species. The following streams were identified as Priority 1:
Priority 2 Streams
Priority 2 streams and watersheds should receive substantial protection and restoration for long-term fish conservation. Priority 2 streams have smaller steelhead, land-locked rainbow trout populations and other/or healthy assemblages of native fish. They may also be isolated stream segments with high conservation value. For example, Upper Stevens Creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains North landscape unit supports resident rainbow trout, California roach and Sacramento sucker; Coyote Creek above Coyote Reservoir supports rainbow trout and five other native fishes.
In coastal areas, all identified winter steelhead streams were included as Priority 2. These include the majority of streams with any connection to the ocean. The following criteria were used to identify Priority 2 streams:
Priority 3 Streams
All remaining streams are classified as Priority 3 because of the critical role played by all riparian areas in providing hydrologic integrity, wildlife habitat, corridors, and buffering against climate change.