ITEM:

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS/STAFF REPORTS

 

20.

CARMEL RIVER FISHERY REPORT

 

Meeting Date:

January 26, 2006

Budgeted:

N/A

 

From:

David A. Berger,

Program/

N/A

 

General Manager

Line Item No.:

 

 

 

Prepared By:

Beverly Chaney /

Cost Estimate:

N/A

 

Dave Dettman

 

 

 

General Counsel Approval:N/A

Committee Recommendation:N/A

CEQA Compliance:N/A

 

AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:During December 2005, the Carmel River continued advancing slowly downstream until a series of large storms moved in after the middle of the month, filling the reservoirs, and pushing the riverfront all the way to the lagoon on December 24th.Monterey County Public Works (MCPW) breached the south end of the sandbar on December 27th(see graph below), opening the way for migrating steelhead to enter or exit the river.

 

During December 2005, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the Districtís Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 67 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 10 to 1,150 cfs.

There were 7.43 inches of measurable rainfall in December as recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD), well above the long-term December average of 3.91 inches at this site.Rainfall total for water year 2006 is 8.27 inches, 121% of the long-term average of 6.81 inches.

 

CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:

WSE at the Carmel River Lagoon, December 2005

JUVENILE STEELHEAD RESCUES:No rescues were needed in December.

 

SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY (Facility):On July 14, 2005, staff began accepting rescued steelhead from the lower Carmel River.

 

As of December 31, approximately 18,649 fish were being held at the Facility, including 2,684 yearling fish and 15,965 young-of-the-year (YOY) fish, with a known overall survival rate of 76%.

 

While the condition of the fish at the Facility remains good to excellent, December was not without its challenges.In previous years, District staff started releasing fish from the Facility in November, but due to the dry fall, CDFG and NOAA Fisheries required the District to hold fish this year until flow had been reestablished to the lagoon.However, the Facility was not designed to operate during winter conditions and high river flows.

 

During the middle of December, operation of Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility was challenged by the plugging of the intake screen, an 8-hour power outage, and the loss of flow during an 8-hour period.Each of these events occurred at different times/dates and required emergency response on the part of District staff.Most serious was the loss of flow, which was discovered on December 21 at ~ 10:00 AM.The cause of the outage seems to have been related to the power outage, which interfered with the normal weekly switching between river pumps.In addition, a flow sensor, which normally would have alerted staff to the outage, was not functioning.Staff repaired the flow sensor and added another alarm for sensing low dissolved oxygen.These changes should alert staff to any further similar outage.

 

During the last week of December 2005 and the first week of January 2006, operation of the Facility continued to be challenged by river conditions and a malfunction in the hardware/software system used to monitor operations.On December 23, staff discovered and corrected a hardware problem that was interfering with the alarm system.On December 30, staff pulled the auxiliary backup pump from the river channel, as the approaching storm was predicted to produce a peak flow of 4,500 cfs, which would have washed the pump downstream.On January 1, 2006 staff pulled the auxiliary water line in anticipation of an additional runoff with the next storm, as the predicted peak flow was 7,000 cfs on January 2.This water line crosses the bottom of the floodway channel and carries water from the auxiliary backup pump.On December 30 and January 2, 2006, staff responded to alarms from the dissolved oxygen senor in the rearing channel.These alarms were caused by plugging of the upper screen in the rearing channel and by low oxygen levels in the intake water.Each of these challenges occurred at different times/dates and required emergency response on the part of District staff.Fortunately, no fish were lost as a result of these events and now that the river is flowing into the ocean the California Department of Fish and Game and NOAA Fisheries have approved releases of fish from the Facility.Staff began releasing fish on Friday, January 6, 2006 and expects to complete the releases and demobilization of the Facility by January 27, 2006.

 

 

 

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