Meeting Date:

April 17, 2006





David A. Berger,




General Manager

Line Item No.:




Prepared By:

Beverly Chaney /

Cost Estimate:



Dave Dettman




General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:  During March 2006, Carmel River streamflow conditions were excellent for juvenile steelhead rearing, as well as adult steelhead upstream migration, and adult and smolt downstream migration, with streamflow to the ocean.  In addition, all the major Carmel River tributaries are flowing and have fair to good rearing habitat conditions.


During March 2006, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 372 cubic feet per second (cfs), and ranged from 265 to 640 cfs.


There were 6.07 inches of measurable rainfall in March as recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD), far exceeding the long-term March average of 3.31 inches at this site.  The rainfall total for Water Year 2006 to date is 22.18 inches, 117% of the long-term October-March average of 18.88 inches.


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  The Carmel River Lagoon was breached in late December 2005 and remained open until mid-January when lower river flow was unable to keep the sandbar open.  During February, the mouth opened and closed a number of times and the water surface elevation (WSE) ranged from approximately 10 feet above sea level, to a critically low 2.0 feet above sea level.  Higher river flow during March kept the lagoon mouth open all month, as shown in the chart below.  Tidal fluctuation and storm waves caused the lagoon WSE to raise and fall.


WSE at the Carmel River Lagoon, March 2006


ADULT STEELHEAD COUNTS AT SAN CLEMENTE DAM:  The District’s automatic adult fish counter at the SCD Ladder was installed in early December 2005.  As of March 31, 2006, 299 counts had been recorded, including four river fish that migrated over the dam before the lagoon was breached on December 27, 2005.   See the daily and monthly breakdown in the chart below.


The end-of-February total of 124 was the lowest since District staff installed the automatic fish counter in 1994.  Fortunately, several large late February/early March storms brought the river flow back up from very low levels and allowed a large pulse of adults to migrate upstream and over the dam to their upper spawning grounds.  March’s total count of 175 adults is very favorable, but may not be enough to reverse the downward trend in total annual number of adult fish passing over SCD since the 2001 season, when 804 fish were counted.  April and May typically have low adult counts at SCD, but persistent high river flows into April may bring a higher than average number of late-season fish over the dam.







DEC 2005


JAN 2006


FEB 2006


MAR 2006


APR 2006


MAY 2006






SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY (Facility):  The Facility is shut down for the season.


Meeting of Technical Advisory Committee on Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility:  On March 22, 2006, the District and National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) hosted the first of several meetings to review and develop a Rescue and Rearing Facility Management Plan (RRMP), which is required for processing the District’s Section 10a1A Permit Application with NOAA Fisheries.  The meeting included representatives from the District, the California Department of Fish and Game, NOAA Fisheries and the Carmel River Steelhead Association.  The RRMP will be patterned after similar plans, known as Hatchery Genetic Management Plans, that are required for operating fish hatcheries throughout the Pacific Northwest Region.  The agenda for this meeting covered a range of topics, focusing on protocols for conducting rescues, transporting juvenile steelhead, and quarantining and rearing them at the Facility.  In addition, the group reviewed the physical components of the facility and began a discussion on development of production goals, objectives and performance standards.  Staff anticipates hosting several additional meetings prior to NOAA Fisheries releasing a draft of the plan for public review and comment.  Notice of the publication will occur through the Federal Register and be handled by NOAA Fisheries.  Once the plan is finalized, NOAA Fisheries will finish processing the District Section 10a1A permit.  


STEELHEAD REDD SURVEYS:  Staff planned to begin a complete survey of steelhead redds (nests) in late March, between Via Mallorca Road (River Mile [RM] 3.9) and the Los Padres Dam (RM 24.8), but was unable to start due high river flows that precluded wading in the river.


JUVENILE STEELHEAD RESCUES:  No rescues will be necessary in the near future.