Meeting Date:

June 21, 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 May 2004, Carmel River streamflow conditions were critical for smolt out-migration, poor to fair for juvenile rearing, and critical for adult in-migration. In May, mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 22 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 19 to 25 cfs.


In May 2004, no rainfall was recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD).  The long-term May average at this site is 0.44 inches.  In the past three months, only 0.63 inches of rain were recorded at SCD, well below the long-term average of 5.5 inches.  For Water Year 2004 through the end of May, the total rainfall is 17.97 inches, or 85% of average.  NOAA has characterized the Monterey Bay area as “Abnormally Dry”, one step above “Moderate Drought”.  Air temperatures moderated in May, with regional temperatures ranging about 1 degree F (Fahrenheit) above normal levels. 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 throughout May with the water surface elevation (WSE) ranging from 5.4 feet to 8.7 feet. During spring 2004, the last opening occurred on April 28, 2004, which was the last opportunity for steelhead smolts to emigrate naturally to the ocean.



                                    Carmel Lagoon Water Level April 2004


SUMMER FISH RESCUES IN THE LOWER CARMEL RIVER:  On May 10, 2004, staff began fish rescues in the vicinity of Highway One and worked most of the month in the reach between the Highway One and the San Carlos Bridge. Thru June 2, 2004, a total of 3,486 fish have been rescued, including 3,148 young-of-the-year, 227 yearlings, 57 smolts, and 54 fish that died in transport for a survival of 98% .


SLEEPY HOLLOW FISH REARING FACILITY:  Staff began stocking fish at Sleepy Hollow on May 11, 2004.  Thru May 31, 2004, a total of 2,486 fish have been stocked, including 2,275 young-of-the-year, 157 yearlings, and 54 smolts.  The smolts were held for a week and after a 6-hour acclimation period were released into the ocean at Stewart’s Cove.  Mortality of stocked fish has been very low, with only 12 known mortalities yielding an overall survival of 99.5%.


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 May 31, 2004, 388 counts had been recorded.  This is the lowest number of adults counted at SCD (through May) 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.





Revised 2:10 pm, 6/15/2004