ITEM:

CONSENT CALENDAR

5.

CONSIDER AUTHORIZATION OF MITIGATION FUNDS TO CONTRACT FOR TWO POSITIONS FOR FISH RESCUES

Meeting Date:

April 19, 2004

Budgeted:  Yes

Staff Contact:

Dave Dettman

Program/Line Item No.:  Fisheries 2-4-2C

## Cost Estimate:$7,350 General Counsel Approval: N/A Committee Recommendation: The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on April 13, 2004 and recommended approval. CEQA Compliance: N/A SUMMARY: Unless significant additional rainfall is received, low stream flow conditions will likely necessitate intensive rescues of steelhead juveniles, smolts and adults beginning in mid-May 2004. Two seasonal contract workers will be needed to supplement the District’s current staff in order to handle the increased workload associated with conducting rescues in the lower Carmel River. The budget for Fiscal Year 2003-2004 included$14,000 for these positions.  Of that amount, $6,650 was spent during fish rescues from July to September of 2003, leaving a remaining amount of$7,350. Authorization is requested to hire two seasonal Fish Rescue Workers, with those individuals entering into agreements with the District for up to 284 hours of work each, in May and June of 2004.

RECOMMENDATION: Authorize the expenditure of funds to hire two contract fish rescue workers for up to 568 hours of work assisting the fisheries biologists, river maintenance specialists, and contract water resources assistant with fish rescues during the spring and early summer of 2004.  These employees would be paid $11.25 per hour. The Administrative Committee considered this item on April 13, 2004 and voted 3 to 0 to recommend approval. IMPACT ON STAFF AND RESOURCES: Funds totaling$14,000 were included in the Fisheries Mitigation Program as line item 2-4-2C in the Summary of Project Expenditures section of the FY 2003-2004 Budget. Of this amount, \$7,350 remains unspent.  At the Administrative Committee meeting on April 13, 2004, the committee directed staff to investigate the consequences of not funding these positions for the remainder of FY 2003-2004.  If rescues begin in mid-May and these positions are not filled, the following impacts on staff and resources are projected to occur:

1)            If staff attempted to conduct rescues with fewer workers, more fish would be lost because a smaller 3-person crew cannot effectively keep up with the number needing rescue and cannot work fast enough to keep up with the retreating river front,

2)            If existing staff were pulled from other tasks to work only on fish rescues, they would work more strenuously over a longer period, thereby increasing the risk of being injured on the job,

3)            If existing staff were diverted from other tasks to work solely on fish rescues, other tasks would not be completed such as riparian irrigation, the Carmel River Watershed Council contract, and applications for future grant funding,

4)            Shifting staff to rescues only would compromise the maintenance and operations schedule at the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility, particularly on weekends and holidays, as scheduling weekend work requires existing staff to take other weekdays off, in order to avoid overtime.

BACKGROUND:  During the past ten years, District staff has initiated rescues when streamflow receded below ten cubic feet per second at Highway One.  This has occurred between April 1 and September 3.  In 2004, staff anticipates that rescues of steelhead will begin during mid May.  The District may be rescuing and transporting three groups of steelhead, including smolts, kelts (spawned-out adults) and juveniles. The smolts and kelts will be transported downstream to the lagoon or ocean, while juveniles will be transported upstream to the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility or permanent habitats above the Narrows.  Given the increase in fish numbers and the likelihood of dry weather, additional help will be needed to successfully complete rescues under current conditions.

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