Meeting Date:

June 22, 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 May 2006, Carmel River streamflow conditions were excellent for juvenile steelhead rearing, and good for adult steelhead upstream migration, and adult and smolt downstream migration, with streamflow to the lagoon.  In addition, several of the major Carmel River tributaries were still flowing, and had fair rearing habitat conditions.


During May 2006, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 139 cubic feet per second (cfs), and ranged from 85 to 225 cfs.


There were 0.89 inches of measurable rainfall in May as recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD), exceeding the long-term May average of 0.44 inches at this site.  The rainfall total for Water Year 2006 to date is 27.62 inches, 131% of the long-term October-May average of 21.00 inches.


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  The Carmel River Lagoon was breached in late December 2005 and remained open until mid-January 2006 when lower river flow was unable to keep the sandbar open.  During February 2006, 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 than average river flows during April and May 2006 kept the lagoon mouth open for all but short periods as shown in the chart below.  In May, tidal fluctuation and waves caused the lagoon WSE to range from a high of approximately 8.1 feet to an all time recorded low of approximately 1.7 feet as the river down-cut through the beach sand berm.


WSE at the Carmel River Lagoon, May 2006



JUVENILE STEELHEAD RESCUES:  No fish rescues will be needed prior to July 1, 2006. Staff now anticipates that flows will drop to ~ 10 cfs at the Highway One Bridge in mid July 2006.  Staff will be gearing up for the rescue season in early July.


SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY (Facility):  Staff started seasonal maintenance activities at the Facility in May.  An access road and gravel pad for the portable pump were repaired, annual power washing and set-up of the rearing channel was started, and the old round, T2 tank walls were removed to make way for the new fiberglass rearing troughs.  Staff expects to have the Facility ready to receive rescued fish by early July.



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 May 31, 2006, 345 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 was very favorable, but was not 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 fairly low adult counts at SCD, but persistent high river flows through April 2006 kept the fish run going strong.  Only one fish was counted in early May. The 2006 year-to-date total of 345 fish has now surpassed last year’s total of 328 fish, but is still far below the 2001 high.







DEC 2005


JAN 2006


FEB 2006


MAR 2006


APR 2006


MAY 2006