Meeting Date:

January 26, 2006





David A. Berger,




General Manager

Line Item No.:




Prepared By:


Larry Hampson

Cost Estimate:


General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


Carmel River Advisory Committee Meeting: On November 17, 2006, the Carmel River Advisory Committee held a Regular Meeting.  Minutes from that meeting will be made available in a future Board packet, once the Committee has reviewed and approved them.


State Proposition 50 Grant Applications:  Lester Snow, the Director of the California Department of Water Resources (DWR), approved Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) Planning Grant awards on January 3, 2006.  MPWMD was awarded a $497,000 grant, conditioned upon responding to DWR’s request for additional information about developing an IRWM Plan for this Region, which includes the Carmel River watershed, the Monterey Peninsula, the Seaside Groundwater Basin, and other areas within the MPWMD boundary.  MPWMD responded to DWR and is optimistic that an agreement can be executed in the very near future.


Large Wood Installation at the Carmel River Lagoon:  MPWMD continued to provide design recommendations and other technical information to the Carmel River Steelhead Association (CRSA) and NOAA Fisheries concerning placement of anchored large wood in the new south arm of the Carmel River Lagoon.  The project has been put on hold due to winter rains.


Response to Complaints of Unauthorized Vehicles in the Carmel River:  During the summer of 2005, MPWMD received written complaints about unauthorized motor vehicles traveling in the river in the vicinity of Rancho Cañada and an anonymous complaint of motorized vehicles in the vicinity of Schulte Bridge.  In late July 2005, the Monterey County Sheriff's Office investigated an incident involving three four-wheel drive vehicles driving in the flowing river between Rancho Cañada and Highway 1.  Later investigation by MPWMD staff revealed several dead steelhead in the tracks of the vehicles and damage to the streambank where the vehicles had entered and exited the channel bottom.


Subsequently, MPWMD representatives met with Monterey County Sheriff Mike Kanalakis, who agreed that the MPWMD law prohibiting unauthorized motor vehicles in the river (Rule 124.G) should be enforced.   Sheriff Kanalakis provided assurances that the Sheriff's Department would follow up by citing drivers caught operating vehicles in the river without MPWMD authorization.  The Sheriff cited one of the drivers in the July 2005 incident for a violation of MPWMD law, and the case was referred to the Monterey County Probation Department.  Because the driver was a juvenile, MPWMD was able to work with the Probation Department and the Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP) on an alternative to the court system.  VORP is a Salinas-based nonprofit group of volunteers who have created a partnership with the Monterey County Probation Department that provides an opportunity for first-time juvenile offenders involved in nonviolent crimes a chance to participate in a program that keeps them out of the traditional juvenile court system and provides them the opportunity to clear their record.


On Sunday, December 4, 2005, staff members Larry Hampson and Andy Bell met with the driver of one of the vehicles that caused damage to the streambanks, mediators from VORP, and Katy Blandin representing the owner of the property where the drivers had entered and exited the river just upstream of the Rancho Cañada golf course.  Tom Lee, the primary VORP mediator for this case, conducted the meeting.  The vehicle driver explained that he did not know that the area is private property and that he was unaware of regulations prohibiting vehicles in the river until he was contacted by the Monterey County Sheriff's office.  He stated that the other drivers involved in the incident were from Salinas, but that he did not know their identities.  MPWMD staff explained the sensitive nature of the streambanks and aquatic resources along the Carmel River and described impacts to the property and environment from driving into the river.


At MPWMD's recommendation, the driver agreed to work for four hours under the supervision of MPWMD staff to make restitution for the damage.  Under supervision of MPWMD staff, this juvenile offender worked to plant willow cuttings and remove non-native vegetation at the site in early January 2006.


Lagoon Sandbar Management Technical Advisory Committee:  MPWMD continues to participate in Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meetings aimed at developing a long term plan and carrying out a short-term strategy for sandbar management and stabilization of the Scenic Drive bluff during the winter of 2005-2006. The TAC was formed in the fall of 2005 to manage the lagoon sandbar after citizen groups and regulatory agencies advocated for a planned strategy to reduce the potential for flooding, protect Scenic Road from erosion, and mitigate for impacts to aquatic species in the Lagoon from sandbar management activities.


On December 27, 2005 beginning at about 5 P.M., Monterey County Public Works crews cut a channel through the southern end of the Carmel River lagoon sandbar to lower water levels in the lagoon and avoid flooding of nearby properties.  The work was performed in accordance with procedures set up by the TAC.  The river continues to flow out to the south near a bedrock sill.  Large swells and surf have largely rebuilt the beach along portions of Scenic Road.  However, the combination of high river flows and large surf also appear to have removed substantial amounts of sand at the southern end of the sandbar, which has resulted in substantial lowering of the lagoon water surface and a reduction of aquatic habitat in the lagoon.  MPWMD is providing the TAC with information on lagoon water levels, water quality, river flows, beach configuration, watershed conditions, and steelhead movements through the main stem in order to better manage the sandbar throughout the winter.


Carmel River Streambank Conditions:  Heavy rains in late December 2005 in the Carmel River watershed caused the river to peak on New Year's Eve at levels that can cause streambank erosion.  However, there were no reports of erosion along the river as a result of the high flows.  MPWMD staff inspected the area just upstream of the Via Mallorca Bridge where emergency streambank repairs were carried out by MPWMD in January 2005, and found the repair work to be holding up well against river flows.  However, portions of the upper streambank, which is nearly vertical in some places, appeared to have sloughed due to the fully saturated conditions.