29. QUARTERLY IRRIGATION PROGRAM AND RIPARIAN PROJECTS REPORT
Meeting Date: April 19, 2004 Budgeted: N/A
Program/Line Item No.: N/A
Staff Contact: Thomas Christensen Cost Estimate: N/A
General Counsel Approval: N/A
Committee Recommendation: N/A
IRRIGATION OF RIPARIAN VEGETATION: The supplemental watering of riparian restoration plantings has been on hold during this quarterly period (January through March 2004) at nine Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (District) riparian habitat restoration sites because of sufficient soil moisture.
Water Use in Acre-Feet (AF)
January - March 2004 0.00 AF
Year-to-date 0.00 AF
MONITORING OF RIPARIAN VEGETATION: Sufficient winter rains have allowed the suspension of the riparian vegetation monitoring program so far this year. It is anticipated that the monitoring of soil moisture and pre-dawn leaf water potential (a measure of vegetation moisture stress) will resume in May of 2004. Typically during the months of May through October, staff takes weekly measurements of leaf water potential on target willow and cottonwood trees to provide an indication of plant water stress and corresponding soil moisture levels at four locations (Cañada, San Carlos, Valley Hills, and Schulte). Combined with monthly readings from the District’s array of monitoring wells and pumping records for large-capacity Carmel Valley wells in the Cal-Am system, the District’s monitoring provides insight into the status of soil moisture through the riparian corridor.
OTHER TASKS PERFORMED SINCE DECEMBER’S 2003 REPORT:
1. Rancho CaZada Village Update: On January 6, 2004, District staff (Christensen and Oliver), attended a meeting held by the Rancho CaZada Community Partners. The meeting focused on the proposed mixed-income neighborhood that would be built on part of Rancho CaZada's golf course. Highlights include 36 acres set aside for 280 units and 36 acres set aside for open space.
2. Riparian Planting Update: On January 8, 2004, District staff (Lyons and Bekker) planted a total of 42 riparian trees in an open area on a property located in the Carmel Valley Village area. Riparian plantings provide valuable habitat for threatened species and protect property from eroding river flows.
3. Carmel River Watershed Assessment: District staff performed assessments of riparian functions at three main stem sites upstream of Los Padres Dam. The sites were at Bluff Camp (about three miles upstream of Los Padres Dam), at the confluence of the main stem with the Miller Fork (about four miles upstream of Los Padres Dam), and approximately 1/2 mile upstream of the Miller Fork confluence. Additional assessments of main stem sites between the ocean and Los Padres Dam will be conducted throughout the remainder of the winter and into spring. These assessments are being performed in accordance with the District's agreement with the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy as part of an overall assessment of the Carmel River watershed.
4. French Broom (Genista) Eradication in District Restoration Projects: District staff (Bekker and Lyons) have been removing an invasive weed (French broom, or genista) from the Schulte Restoration Project and Red Rock Restoration Project. French broom competes with native plants and can become problematic if left unchecked.
5. Public Outreach and River Restoration: On February 13, 2004, District staff (Christensen, Bekker, Lyons) planted riparian trees on Hacienda Carmel property with students from the Carmel Middle School. Students, parents and teachers learned planting techniques and how planting riparian trees increases bank stability and habitat value.
6. Carmel River Watershed Assessment: On March 16, 2004, District staff (Christensen, Hampson, and Wheeler) conducted assessments of riparian functions at headwater sites upstream of the Carmel River in the Pine Valley area. The assessment included the potential for erosion on slopes in the Miller Fork drainage of the Carmel River below Chews Ridge. Additional assessments of main stem sites between the ocean and Los Padres Dam will be conducted throughout the remainder of spring. These assessments are being performed in accordance with the District's agreement with the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy as part of the overall assessment of the Carmel River watershed.