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Abstract

A die-off of native and exotic fish and invertebrate species, including the endangered southern steelhead trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) was observed in Malibu Creek, Los Angeles County, during the summer and fall of 2006. Death was preceded by a period of illness during which trout in particular exhibited a noticeable yellow coloration. Physical, chemical and biological variables, including temperature, dissolved oxygen, a variety of chemical contaminants, presence of toxin producing algae, and direct pathology were examined but results remain inconclusive. The first day of a 12-day high temperature event occurred on the same date yellow trout were first observed. This sustained event is different from shorter term temperature spikes recorded in other years. Recovery monitoring documented re-colonization by all exotic fish species and crayfish, but limited numbers of southern steelhead trout in 2007. Surveys in summer 2008 documented a record number of anadromous adults (five silvery fish over 50 cm total length) and young of the year (over 2,200 under 10 cm).

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