ITEM:

INFORMATION ITEMS / STAFF REPORTS CONSENT CALENDAR

 

21.

CARMEL RIVER FISHERY REPORT

 

Meeting Date:

August 16, 2004

Budgeted:

N/A

 

From:

David A. Berger,

Program/

N/A

 

General Manager

Line Item No.:

 

 

 

Prepared By:

 

Dave Dettman/

Beverly Chaney

Cost Estimate:

N/A

 

 

General Counsel Approval:

N/A

Committee Recommendation:

N/A

CEQA Compliance:

N/A

 

AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:During July 2004, Carmel River streamflow conditions were poor to fair for juvenile steelhead rearing.By the end of July, the river had dried up approximately to Schulte Bridge (River Mile [RM] 6.7).In July, mean daily streamflow recorded at the Districtís Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 7.3 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 6.1 to 9.5 cfs.

 

In July 2004, 0.00 inches of rainfall were recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD).The long-term July average at this site is 0.03 inches.In the past five months, only 0.78 inches of rain were recorded at SCD, well below the long-term average of 5.6 inches.

 

CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:The Carmel River Lagoon was closed throughout July with the water surface elevation ranging from 3.5 feet to 2.4 feet, as shown below.

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.†† As a consequence, relatively large numbers of juvenile steelhead were isolated in the lagoon and subjected to record low water levels during the week of July 18-24.During the latter half of July, losses of fish were observed due to bird predation and possibly anoxia.The water level on July 19 of 2.4 feet is the lowest July level since 1992, when the District began recording measurements every 15 minutes. Normally, the lowest annual level is reached in mid- to late-August of each year.Under these low level conditions, the growth of algae adds large volumes of oxygen to the water, but also can deplete oxygen, especially during the nighttime and when the algae blooms die or organic matter decays in the lagoon.This process, coupled with chemical stratification of lagoon water, due to salinity gradients, can force fish to the surface of the lagoon where they are susceptible to increased predation.

 

The record low water in July 2004 may be related to excavation activities associated with the California Department of Parks and Recreationís (CDPR) Lagoon Restoration Project, which began on July 2, 2004.In an effort to lessen any possible fish losses in the lagoon, the CDPR, California Department of Fish and Game, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service coordinated on a temporary plan to deliver water from three sources, including reclaimed water from the Carmel Area Wastewater Districtís (CAWDís) treatment plant, an irrigation well on CDRP property, and the newly excavated pit within the Lagoon Restoration Project area.As a component of this plan, CAWD released 13 Acre-Feet(AF) of reclaimed water into the riparian zone surrounding the lagoon from July 25 to 27.Normally, the reclaimed water would be supplied to the Pebble Beach Community Services District for distribution to Del Monte Forest golf courses and irrigated open spaces.This water became available when potable water from Cal-Am was supplied to the golf courses for flushing salt through the turf.The 13 AF of water provided immediate relief from low water levels, as evidenced by the rising lagoon level on July 25-28 (see graph), cooled the surface water and reduced surface salinity throughout the lagoon.District staff assisted the CDPR by measuring water quality of the raw water in their irrigation well, which is also being plumbed to supplement water in the lagoon in the near future, and made recommendations to CDPR and NOAA Fisheries on how to best aerate the water from the well.

 

SUMMER FISH RESCUES IN THE LOWER CARMEL RIVER:On May 10, 2004, staff began fish rescues at Highway One.Through July 31, 2004, a total of 15,830 fish have been rescued up to Cal-Amís Manor Well area (RM 7.1) including 14,927 young-of-the-year, 627 yearlings, 67 smolts, 2 adult and 207 fish that died in transport for a survival of 99%.†† On July 29, 2004, approximately 100 fish were rescued from the DeDampierre reach (RM 13.0).This reach will continue to be monitored.

 

SLEEPY HOLLOW FISH REARING FACILITY:Staff began stocking fish at Sleepy Hollow on May 11, 2004.Through July 31, 2004, a total of 15,198 fish have been stocked, including 14,471 young-of-the-year and 564 yearlings.Overall survival of stocked fish in the rearing channel remains high at 97%.

 

In early July, the older juvenile fish in the 22-foot diameter Tank 3 experienced a sudden and unexpected die-off.Staff called California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) pathologists in Sacramento and requested a site visit.CDFG Senior Pathologist, Joe Maret, arrived at the Facility on July 8, 2004.He reported the fish had severe infections of both the protozoa Ichthyophihirius multifilis or ďIchĒ and Flexibactor columnaris bacteria.The remaining fish were subsequently moved to a smaller eight-foot diameter quarantine tank and treated over the next two weeks with formalin and antibiotics.Of the 401 fish placed in Tank 3, 182 were transferred and treated. Thirty-seven additional fish later died as a result of their infections.The remaining 145 fish have recovered and are doing well (36% survival).Large fish rescued since July 8, 2004 were placed into a different tank and have been doing well.

 

The likely causes of the swift loss were a combination of high river water temperatures (reaching 68 degrees F in the Facility over the July 4th weekend), high water turbidity from the San Clemente Reservoir drawdown project, increased levels of pathogens in the river at the Facility water source and more highly stressed fish rescued from poor habitat conditions in the lower valley.

 

Staff hosted an inspection of the Facility by several CDFG staff members on July 13, 2004.Those in attendance included Joe Maret, pathologist; Mike Hill, Associate Fishery Biologist, Central Coast Region; and Sid Poe, Fish Hatchery Manager, Yountville.They will be providing a written report of their observations and recommendations within the next couple months.

 

 

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