Meeting Date:

May 17, 2004

Budgeted:  N/A




Staff Contact:

Dave Dettman/

Beverly Chaney

Program/Line Item No.:  N/A




Cost Estimate:  N/A




General Counsel Approval:  N/A


Committee Recommendation:  N/A


CEQA Compliance:  N/A



AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:  During April 2004, Carmel River streamflow conditions were only fair for smolt out-migration and fish rearing. Conditions in the lower river were poor for adult in-migration. In April, mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 48 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 24 to 59 cfs.


In April 2004, 0.11 inches of rainfall were recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD).  The long-term April average at this site is 1.67 inches.  In the past two months, only 0.63  inches of rain fell at SCD, well below the long-term average of 5.0 inches.  For Water Year 2004 through the end of April, the total rainfall is 17.97 inches, or 87% of average.  NOAA has characterized the Monterey Bay area as “Abnormally Dry”, one step above “Moderate Drought”.  Robert Renard, Monterey meteorologist, stated in his April 2004 Weather Summary that Monterey temperatures were 2.4 degrees Fahrenheit above normal in April, and March temperatures were 5.8 degrees above normal.  These two factors, dry and warm, combined with four of the five previous years of below-normal rainfall, are creating the worst spring conditions for steelhead since 1994.


United States Weekly Drought Monitor

The Carmel River Lagoon was closed for much of April but had a number of brief openings that drained out most of the water and allowed fish to emigrate to the ocean. The water surface elevation (WSE) ranged from 2.6 feet to 9.1 feet. 



                                    Carmel Lagoon Water Level April 2004



CARMEL RIVER STEELHEAD REDD SURVEY: Staff completed it’s 2004 annual steelhead redd (nests) survey in April.  Approximately 95% of the river from Highway 1 (RM1.1) to Los Padres Dam (RM 24.8) was surveyed at least once.  The lower portion of Pine Creek was also surveyed.  The numbers of redds, adult fish, smolts and fry were noted for each reach.  Preliminary survey results are as follows: In the Carmel River Mainstem, 107 redds, 4 spawning pairs, 5 single adults, 0 kelts, and 14 carcasses were observed.  In Pine Creek, 5 redds, 0 adults, and many fry were seen.   Much of the survey was completed in late April so that as many redds as possible would be counted.  The low number of adult fish seen is a likely result of the late time period.


SLEEPY HOLLOW FISH REARING FACILITY:  In April 2004, Staff continued to prepare the Facility for a May start-up.  The river intake screen that was removed two weeks ago and retrofitted with additional adjustment slots was reinstalled, testing was started on the water pumps and alarm systems, and overhanging dead tree limbs were removed by Iverson Tree Service.


ADULT STEELHEAD COUNTS AT SAN CLEMENTE DAM:  The District’s automatic adult fish counter at the San Clemente Dam Ladder was installed in early January 2004.  As of April 30, 2004, 386 counts had been recorded.  This is the lowest number of adults counted at SCD (through April) since 1995  (310 total), but is similar to 1999 (397).  Relatively low numbers of spawning adults in 1999 and 2000, paired with this year’s dry spring conditions and low river flows are the likely causes of the low total count.  In addition, the spawning habitat conditions below SCD, in particular between Boronda Road bridge (River Mile [RM] 12.7) and Schulte Road bridge (RM 6.7) have improved dramatically in the past few years and more adults may be spawning there instead of migrating up past the dam.








JAN 2004


FEB 2004


MAR 2004


APR 2004


MAY 2004





*Visual counts are steelhead observed above the counter during maintenance activities.
**Discharge measured at the MPWMD gaging station at Sleepy Hollow Weir or San Clemente Spillway.