Meeting Date:           February 27, 2003                  Budgeted:  FY 2002-03

Program/Line Item No.: 2-4-1 G

Staff Contact:             David H. Dettman                  Cost Estimate: $ 145,000 for

Contract Amendment


General Counsel Approval:  Potential actions under review

Committee Recommendation: Administrative Committee Action to be taken by full Board 

CEQA Compliance: Notice of Exemption to be filed for Phase II of Retrofit Project

SUMMARY:  At the Board meeting on January 30, 2003, the Board directed staff to bring back a proposal for divesting the District of any involvement in fish rescuing and rearing activities, including an analysis of the options such as turning these responsibilities over to California-American Water Company (Cal-Am), or alternatively to a state or federal resource agency.  In addition, the Board requested a recommendation on the preferred alternative for retrofitting the water intake system at the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility (Facility).  This evaluation and report has been prepared because of the pending increase in Carmel River sediment that is anticipated with the lowering of water levels in San Clemente Reservoir.


RECOMMENDATION:  The Board should:

1)                  Receive the report on alternatives for future operation of the Facility;

2)                  Proceed with the Interim Retrofit Project (IRP) approach

3)                  Approve the CEQA Notice of Exemption for the IRP;

4)                  Authorize the use of Phase I funds to complete the IRP design;

5)                  Authorize the General Manager to execute a contract amendment with John F. Otto, Inc. for the construction of the IRP in an amount not-to-exceed $ 145,000 for a total contract amount not-to-exceed $ 243,000.

6)                  Receive a future report on the IRP performance and lifecycle costs at the end of the 2003 rearing season, and re-assess future steps or actions by the District at that time.


BACKGROUND: At the Board meeting on December 15, 2002, the Board concurred with District staff’s recommendation to develop a contract with JFO to begin Phase I of a design/build project for retrofitting the water intake system at the Facility. JFO and the District signed a contract for Phase I on January 14, 2003, and work is progressing according to a tight schedule with completion of the alternatives analysis, topographic survey and schematic designs for the alternative concepts. District staff has met several times with representatives of the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – Fisheries (NOAA Fisheries), Cal-Am and the Carmel River Steelhead Association (CRSA) to review and develop various components of a retrofitted intake.

Current Fish Rescue and Rearing Activities and San Clemente Dam Impacts


The District’s current involvement in fish rescue and rearing activities is based on the adoption of findings in the MPWMD Water Allocation Program Final Environmental Impact Report (November 1990), and on a comprehensive set of mitigation measures adopted in the original Five-Year Mitigation Program for Option V—16,744 AF Cal-Am Production, dated November 1990.  Under this program, the District assumed the responsibility for rescuing and rearing juvenile steelhead from sections of the lower Carmel River where Cal-Am’s pumping of groundwater causes reduction in streamflow and annually dries up the stream.  In the near future, Cal-Am’s lowering of the water level in San Clemente Reservoir will substantially increase transport and deposition of sediment in the Carmel River.  This change will deleteriously affect Sleepy Hollow operations and equipment and represents a significant change in the setting for the Facility.   


Options for Divesting/Continuing the District’s Involvement in Rescue/Rearing Program


Actions proposed for consideration, per the Board’s motion, will require that the District re-evaluate the mitigation measures under CEQA because the rescue/rearing activities are measures adopted to mitigate specific impacts associated with an earlier Board action.  The level of review under CEQA ranges from no action with the existing operations to preparation of a supplement to the 1990 Allocation EIR with full divestment. (Exhibit 14-A)  The options contemplated at this time are as follows:


1)                  Continue rescue/rearing operations, with interim changes;

2)                  Continue rescue/rearing operations,

a.       With District retrofit at Facility

b.      With Cal-Am retrofit of Russell Well field;

3)                  Transfer rescue/rearing operations to a public agency or private entity;

4)                  Terminate rescue/rearing operations temporarily, mothball facility for future; and

5)                  Terminate rescue/rearing operations permanently, restore the Sleepy Hollow Site per the 30-year license agreement with Cal-Am, or modify deposition of Facility with Cal-Am approval.           


Options for Continuing District Rescue/Rearing Program


As highlighted at previous Board meetings in December 2002 and January 2003, the existing intake system at the Facility needs to be retrofitted to handle the increased levels of bedload and suspended sediment that are expected to reach the intake as a result of lowering the reservoir elevation in San Clemente Reservoir. Options for continuing the rescue/rearing program include: Option 1, making interim modifications to the intake system at Sleepy Hollow; Option 2a, a complete retrofit of the Facility intake with the addition of new equipment engineered to handle the increased sediment loads and improve pump maintenance; and Option 2b, a Cal-Am expansion of the Russell Well field and pumping water back up gradient to the Facility via the 24-inch raw water line.


At the Board meeting on December 15, 2002, the Board directed staff to develop a contract with JFO to begin a design/build project for retrofitting the water intake system at Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility (Facility).  Following development of the contract, legal review, preparation of final contract documents, and signing, List Engineering Company (LEC) conducted a feasibility analysis of eight options for retrofitting the intake to supply sediment-free water to the Facility.  The following section outlines the results of their analysis and the process used to narrow down the list from eight alternatives to one option (Exhibit 14-B).


Report and Recommendation on Preferred Alternative for Retrofitting Water Intake System


On February 3, 2003, following an in-house review of the eight alternatives, District staff met with representatives from NOOA – Fisheries, the CDFG, JFO, LEC and Cal-Am to review and narrow down the list of options.  Based on considerations of construction feasibility, time for permitting, potential impacts on riparian and aquatic habitats, the group narrowed the list down to four alternatives, including:


Alternate 3 – Open Concrete Settling Pit:   


1.      Use existing pump enclosure and river water intake.  Connect to back side of enclosure and extend to new pit.

2.      Construct a new concrete settling pit complete with perimeter protection and grating. 

3.      Construct new pump housing to draw river water from settling pit. 

4.      Revise existing river water inlet.

5.      Relocate and revise existing pumps.

6.      Replace existing 6” supply pipe to cooling tower with new 10” pipe. 

7.      Provide centrifugal separator ahead of cooling tower to remove silt from water and protect the rearing channel. 


Alternate 5 – In Bank Filtration:  


1.      Retain existing pump housing with water level equipment in place.

2.      Construct multiple, perforated, inlet piping parallel to the river bank and manifold to new pump enclosures.

3.      Relocate existing pumps and revise to include a rail lift mechanism for improved pump removal.

4.      Replace existing 6” supply pipe to cooling tower with new 10” pipe.  


Alternate 7 –Water from new Cal-Am Russell Wells: 


1.      Retain existing pump housing with water level equipment in place.

2.      Use the Russell Well field located downstream from SHSRF as the source of water for operations.

3.      Extend new supply pipe to Cal-Am raw water pipe coming from two new Russell Wells.

4.      Coordinate Russell Well system revisions:  Cal-Am to add two new wells, emergency generator and piping revisions in order to provide back-up capabilities.


Alternate 8 – Buried Concrete Settling Pit:


1.      Retain existing pump housing with water level equipment in place.

2.      Provide a new river water inlet.

3.      Construct parallel, buried, pre-cast concrete river water clarifiers.

4.      Construct a new pump housing to draw river water from clarifiers. 

5.      Relocate and revise existing pumps.

6.      Replace existing 6” supply pipe to cooling tower with new 10” pipe. 


Additional Information on Construction of Alternatives 3, 5 and 7 – Following the meeting on February 3, 2003, District staff and LEC developed additional information on Alternatives 3, 5, and 7.


Alternative 3:  The feasibility, and constructability of this alternative is similar to Alternative 8, but it would require significantly more maintenance due to the open top and fencing on the concrete pit and it is prone to flood damage. While constructible, this alternative would be more costly, due to use of formed in place concrete, which requires twenty-eight days curing prior to use.  For these reasons this alternative was screened out of the running. 

            Alternative 5: The feasibility, constructability, permitting, and cost for Alternative 5 primarily depends on the characteristics of the alluvium at the site.  To address this issue, District staff performed a drawdown-pumping test of the alluvium, which indicates that the hydraulic conductivity of the alluvial deposit next to the river ranges from about 120 to 240 gallons per day per square foot.  These rates are similar to estimates elsewhere in the lower Carmel Valley Aquifer and similar to documented published information.  At these rates, approximately 2,700 feet of 12-inch diameter pipe, buried 16-20 feet underground, would be needed to provide a continuous flow rate of two cubic feet per second.  Based on this information, a well field approximately 50 feet by 460 feet would be needed and an area 80 feet by 480 feet would need to be excavated.  It is unlikely that enough room exists at the site without the removal of many sycamore trees. While removal of sycamore trees does not make the alternative infeasible, this alternative would require preparation of a mitigated negative declaration, which cannot be prepared, circulated and certified in time for project completion by May 15, 2003. This alternative was eliminated due to permitting delays, constructability and uncertainty regarding characteristics of the alluvium.


Alternative 7:  The permitting review for Alternative 7 would require too much time, considering the need to have the project completed by May 15, 2003.  In addition, electrical costs for pumping water would be twice the current expenditure of approximately $1,600 per month.  At the very least, a mitigated Negative Declaration would be needed to resolve the permitting issue, because the addition of the new Cal-Am wells would increase pumping capacity at the site by 360 percent (i.e., 1.4 cfs to 5.0 cfs).


Selection of Alternative 8 as Preferred Project – Based on the above selection process, LEC recommended Alternative 8 for the following reasons:


                            it is buildable,

                            relies on low-tech solutions and materials,

                            minimizes construction work in the river,

                            the buried clarifiers provide protection from high river water levels,

                            improved maintenance and protection for the pumps is provided,

                            minimum permit review is required and project can be completed with posting of Notice of Exemption under CEQA,

                            installation of parallel clarifiers provides redundant flow stream for back-up operation, or at the District’s choice, both streams can be operated simultaneously for better performance, and

                            clarifiers can be cleaned by use of a vacuum truck to avoid personnel entering a confined space for manual cleaning.


As estimated by JFO, the Phase II construction cost for Alternative Eight totals $493,773 including design services, project management & supervision, site work, concrete work, mechanical & plumbing work, and electrical work (Exhibit 14-C).  The bulk of the cost (77 percent) is in site work ($150,780) to excavate, furnish and install new tanks, and construction of one 8-foot diameter pump enclosure and in mechanical/plumbing work  ($227,540) to provide a new intake screen, new suction pipe to tanks, new pump enclosure, retrofit of the existing submersible pumps, furnishing an additional pump and providing a centrifugal separator.  In addition to Phase II construction costs, the District would expend $62,716 on Phase I of the retrofit project and should contract with Camp Dresser and McGee for a third-party design review at a cost not-to-exceed $13,000 (Exhibit 14-D).  Therefore, costs for the permanently retrofitted intake system would total $569,489.  Even with this expensive retrofit, there would be no assurance that more expenditures may not be needed for the Facility to function under a substantial increase in sediment loading.  Based on these shortcomings, an alternative to the more costly improvements was developed.


Consideration of an Interim Retrofit Project – Considerable uncertainty exists about the future sediment contributions from the planned lowering of water levels in San Clemente Reservoir this spring and from the eventual seismic retrofit or removal of San Clemente Dam.  Current information, available to the District, indicates that average entrainment of suspended sediment ranges from 10 to 40 tons per year, accumulations up to several or more times this range may occur.  Given the uncertainty regarding future suspended load and bedload at the site, Chair Henson directed that staff meet with representatives of the CRSA and resource agencies to discuss and formulate a lower cost alternative that could be constructed within the required timeframe. 


On February 13, 2003, District staff met with Kevan Urquhart of CDFG, Joyce Ambrosius of NOAA Fisheries, Bob Zampatti and Clive Sanders of the CRSA, and Charley Kemp of Cal-Am to discuss the key components of an Interim Retrofit Project (IRP) and operations of the Facility.  The group agreed that the intake system could be modified with minimal or no impacts to the aquatic and riparian habitats in the river near the Facility, but with a higher

degree of uncertainty regarding reliability and ability to minimize sediment entrainment.  Entrainment of sediment into the Facility’s water supply would reduce the suitability of rearing habitats in the Facility and could harm the fish. The group also acknowledged that this sediment loading could mean shutting down the facility for a portion of the rearing season.  All present at the meeting acknowledged these risks, but recommended that the IRP proceed as discussed. Finally, the group agreed to several changes and operations for the IRP.  The IRP would include the following modifications to the Facility:


1)      provide a height adjustment on the screen at the existing intake to reduce the velocity of water passing through the screen and sediment entrained during the operating season,

2)      upgrades to the impellers on the existing pumps to minimize damage caused by entrained sediment,

3)      purchase of an additional standby river pump to replace either river pump in case of failure,

4)      purchase of a mobile, emergency backup pump to be used when sediment loads are excessive during the high flow season in late fall and early winter, or when one of the river pumps fails during the low flow season,

5)      installation of a centrifugal separator to be used in conjunction with the mobile, emergency backup pump to reduce cooling tower sediment buildup and clogging, and

6)      changes to the electrical system to accommodate the additional mobile emergency backup pump.


Based on this description, LEC and JFO developed a task list and projected construction costs for the IRP. (Exhibit 14-E) The capital cost for Phase II using this approach totals $184,813, including $178,713 for additional design/construction costs with JFO, $5,100 for services of an independent backhoe operator and $1,000 for shoring materials supplied by the District.  Considering that the District has only expended $57,216 of the $97,476 authorized for Phase I, means that the savings on Phase I ($40,260) can be allocated to pay for a portion of the $184,813 Phase II design and construction costs.  If the decision is made to proceed on Phase II, the total pre-design, design, and construction cost for retrofitting the intake will be approximately $243,000.  District staff has prepared a CEQA Notice of Exemption for this project, which will be filed, if the Board decides to proceed with the IRP. (Exhibit 14-F)


IMPACT ON STAFF AND RESOURCES:  The long-term impact on staff and financial resources are unknown at this time, depending on the decision to continue or terminate fish rescue and rearing operations.  If the District’s fish rescues and rearing were terminated, this could open up staff time to devote to other priorities.  If a decision is made to proceed with the IRP, this would increase expenditure of mitigation reserve funds by an additional $145,000, above and beyond the $ 97,476 authorized by the Board on December 16, 2002.    Increased maintenance costs will be incurred with operation of the IRP, due to the need for increased oversight and care of the emergency backup pump.  Once the 2003 rearing season is completed, District staff will report to the Board on the IRP performance and related costs.