28.†††††† CARMEL RIVER FISHERY REPORT†††††
Meeting Date:† January 30, 2003†††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Budgeted:† N/A
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Program/Line Item No.: Aquatic Staff
Staff Contact:† Dave Dettman/†††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††† Resources Fisheries, 2.4
Committee Recommendation: N/A
CEQA Compliance:† N/A
AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:† During December 2002, Carmel River streamflow conditions ranged from poor to excellent in the lower valley.† The river front remained near Cal-Amís San Carlos Well (RM 3.7) until mid-December when a large storm pushed the front to the lagoon.† Flow in the lower valley remained relatively high, approximately 200 to 400 cubic feet-per-second (cfs) for the rest of the month.† Habitat conditions upstream of the narrows (RM 8.5) were excellent for rearing juvenile steelhead.
The lagoon filled in mid-December from ocean waves and river flow.† Monterey County Public Works breached the lagoon the evening of December 15 and again on December 16, 2002 as the water surface elevation (WSE) reached 11.0 feet.†† Lagoon water quality was poor for juvenile steelhead in early December.† High salinity from waves, low oxygen and high carbon dioxide from decaying algae were all reported in November, and although no mortalities were observed, few fish were captured during sampling by late November and December.† Any live fish present in the main body of the lagoon during the breaching may have been swept out to sea.† This is likely fatal for small steelhead that have not smolted.
During December, mean daily streamflow recorded at the Districtís Carmel River at Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 234 cubic feet-per-second (cfs) and ranged from 16 Ė 1,310 cfs.† The peak occurred December 16, 2002 at San Clemente Dam and measured 3,280 cfs, the highest flow since 1998.†† Rainfall for the month at San Clemente Dam was 9.73 inches as recorded by Cal-Am, compared to the long-term monthly average of 4.43 inches at this site.
FALL STEELHEAD RESCUES:† No fish rescues were needed in December.† To date, a total of 109 fish were rescued from the river during the fall season.† Staff anticipates that no additional rescues will be needed until late spring or early summer 2003.
STATUS OF SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY (Facility):† No fish are currently being held at the Facility.
Sediment Mitigation Project:† In August 2002, District staff completed repairs of the river pumps on the water intake gallery at the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility (Facility).† On October 23, 2002, District staff attended an interagency meeting at the Department of Water Resources, Division of Safety of Dams (DSOD) in Sacramento, where DSOD presented details of a fundamental change in California-American Water Companyís (Cal-Amís) operation of San Clemente Dam.† This change, which is being required as an interim measure to minimize risk of dam failure during a major earthquake, involves lowering the water surface elevation in San Clemente Reservoir to an elevation of 515 feet, beginning on May 15, 2003.† This change in Cal-Amís operation will result in significant bypass of fine-grained sediment into the river channel below the dam, especially during periods when flows range below the capacity of the outlet structure.† As a consequence, District staff expects that the large quantities of fine-grained sediment, including silt and sand, will pass into the Facilityís intake structure.† This is problematic because deposition of fine-grained sediment and passage of silt will harm fish in the Facility and may lead to rapid failure of the recently repaired pumps.† Given this situation, District staff believes that retrofit of the intake structure will be needed to make the Facility operational next year and into the foreseeable future. The estimated total cost for this retrofit could reach $400,000.†
Time is of the essence in this situation because the District must have the Facility operational by early June 2003 to meet its obligations under the Allocation Mitigation Program.† District staff contacted List Engineering Company (LEC) of Monterey to review this situation and they proposed a design and build approach to retrofit the Facility to avoid entrainment of sediment into the water intake system. LEC has assembled a design team with LEC as the lead engineering firm and John F. Otto, Inc. of Sacramento as the general engineering contractor.† In addition, the District plans to include peer review of the retrofit design by Camp Dresser & McKee (CDM).†
At their December 16 Board meeting, the Board approved spending up to $125,000 to contract with John F. Otto, Inc. on the initial phase of the retrofit project.† The Board will consider funding the remainder of the project and other options at their February 27, 2003 meeting.
Storm Damage:† In late December, a large storm with high winds hit the Central Coast.† In early January, staff was able to cross the river and inspect the Facility for possible storm damage.† The inspection showed that falling tree limbs and debris damaged approximately 200 feet of the bird netting and supporting framework.† Due to the size of the limbs, staff is considering hiring a professional tree service firm for the work.† In addition, one of the largest oak trees at the facility has split in half, but is still standing.† If it falls, it will likely cause more damage to the canopy and rearing channel.† Based on an initial inspection, one tree service firm estimated that the cost to remove the limbs and cut down the split oak would be $2,000.† Staff is evaluating the condition of this tree and others, which may need to be removed or trimmed at a potential cost of $4,000, including the fallen limb removal.†
Staff has ordered materials to repair the netting and support structure and once the trees are removed, staff expects that repairs can be completed within two weeks.
SAN CLEMENTE DAM FISH COUNTER: The fish counter was placed into service on November 1, 2002.† During the second week of November, eight fish were counted passing the ladder. These fish were probably not sea-run steelhead, as the river mouth was not open at the time, and were either large resident-type steelhead (rainbow trout) or brown trout from the river below San Clemente Dam. During December 2002, 17 fish were counted for a total of 25 adult steelhead for the year.