22. CARMEL RIVER FISHERY REPORT
Meeting Date: April 21, 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 March 2003, Carmel River streamflow conditions were generally good for fish rearing and fair for adult fish migration. Mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River at Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 84 cubic feet-per-second (cfs) and ranged from 48 - 255 cfs.
March temperatures were above normal, and rainfall of only 1.55 inches, as recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam, was far below the long-term monthly average of 3.36 inches at this site. This was the third dry month in a row.
Low river flows in March caused the lagoon’s water surface elevation (WSE) to fluctuate between 3 and 9 feet above mean-sea level as the sand berm across the mouth formed and breached. Shallow water depth in the main body of the lagoon during low tides may be causing migration problems for adult fish. In addition, the sand berm across the mouth of the South Arm of the lagoon has built up significantly and likely prevents fish from moving in and out of the arm. March water quality in the lagoon was good for steelhead health.
SAN CLEMENTE DAM FISH COUNTER: The fish counter was placed into service on November 1, 2002. Through the end of March 2003, 450 adult steelhead have passed over the counter, including 8 fish in November, 17 in December, 90 in January, 141 in February, and 194 in March 2003.
3/31/2003 Nov 2002 8 Dec 2002 17 TOTAL 450
Month # of Adults
Jan 2003 90
Feb 2003 141
Mar 2003 194
Nov 2002 8
Dec 2002 17
CALIFORNIA COASTAL SALMON RECOVERY PROGRAM: In 2000, the District was awarded three grants from the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) for steelhead habitat improvement projects. District staff completed the four-part steelhead passage improvement project last fall (see the November 2002 Board Packet). In early April 2003, District staff completed the remaining two grant projects, (1) the Spawning Gravel Injection Project (SGIP), and (2) the Inflow Bypass at the San Clemente Creek Reservoir (IBSSCR).
SGIP: The purpose of the SGIP was to improve the spawning habitat for steelhead below the two dams by replacing some of the gravel that is trapped behind the dams. The grant project involved the purchase and transport of 600 tons of 1.5 – 2.5 inch gravel from the Central Valley. Half the rock was placed below Los Padres Dam (River Mile, 24.8) at the spillway and the old fish ladder. The other half was injected into the Carmel River at the Old Carmel Dam (RM 18.3), below San Clemente Dam. This project is part of an ongoing 10-year spawning gravel replacement program. The total cost of the SGIP was $30,000 including the grant and the District’s cost share requirement.
IBSSCR: This project involved the fabrication and installation, into the San Clemente Creek reservoir “intake works”, of an intake device and fish screen for making controlled flow releases from the dam, while the reservoir is filled in the spring. The final cost of the project was $9,500 including the grant and the District’s cost share requirement.
SAN CLEMENTE CREEK BARRIER REMOVAL: In late February 2003, District staff discovered a logjam blocking steelhead passage in San Clemente Creek. In early March 2003, with DFG approval, staff removed small pieces of wood and leaf litter from the debris jam. This opened a passable route through the barrier.