Meeting Date:

August 21, 2006





David A. Berger,




General Manager

Line Item No.:




Prepared By:

Beverly Chaney

Cost Estimate:






General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:  During July 2006, Carmel River streamflow conditions were fair to critical for juvenile steelhead rearing, and poor to critical for downstream migration, with discontinuous streamflow to the lagoon.  In the latter part of the month, a dry section of river developed in the Rancho Canada reach, around Cal-Am’s large production well.  Conditions both above and below this dry reach were generally poor with low flow and high afternoon water temperatures.


During July 2006, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 21.9 cubic feet per second (cfs), and ranged from 15 to 31 cfs.


There were 0.00 inches of measurable rainfall in July as recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD), compared to the long-term July average of 0.03 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 21.15 inches.


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  In mid-June 2006, a sand berm was constructed across the mouth of the lagoon by State Parks, Monterey Peninsula Engineering, the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy, the Carmel River Steelhead Association, with technical advise provided by the District, to try to raise the water surface elevation (WSE) of the lagoon for the summer and help the juvenile steelhead residing there to survive.  The WSE was raised from approximately three feet to eight feet and held relatively steady above the six-foot level through the end of June. 


In early July, as inflow reached ~20 cfs, the lagoon was closed by bulldozing sand across the mouth, and the WSE rose to 7.5 feet.  As the river inflow tapered off, the lagoon’s WSE slowly dropped to 6.0 feet by the end of the month.


WSE at the Carmel River Lagoon, July 2006



JUVENILE STEELHEAD RESCUES:  Staff started fish rescues on July 17, 2006, when river flows dropped to approximately 10 cfs at the Highway One Bridge.  The five-person rescue crew was working their way upstream when it was discovered that the section of river between approximately River Mile (RM) 2.5 and 3.1 was about to go dry.  The crew moved upstream to this reach and rescued fish from isolated pools, working their way back downstream to the wetted reach.  By the end of July, at least one pass had been completed between Highway 1 and the Rancho Cañada Well (RM 3.1), and approximately 4,000 juvenile steelhead were rescued.


SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY (Facility):  All systems were up and running at the Facility by the end of June 2006.  The first batch of rescued fish was placed in the Facility’s quarantine tanks on July 17, 2006.  As of July 31, 2006, 2,885 fish had been stocked in the rearing channel, including 2,585 young-of-the-year (YOY) fish, 183 intermediate size YOY and older juveniles, and 178 large juveniles (1+ year olds).  Each size class was placed in a separate section of the channel. 


Record high air temperatures at the Facility in late July (maximum air temperatures >100 degrees for five straight days) caused the water temperatures to spike to unhealthy levels for nearly a week.  Even with the cooling tower in full operation, the water temperature in the rearing channel reached 75 degrees Fahrenheit for two days.  Many of the fish became ill with bacterial infections that exploded with the high temperature.  Mortality rates were rapidly escalating and the California Department of Fish and Game pathologist was called.  During a site visit the next day, the pathologist confirmed the Flavobacterium columnare bacteria outbreak.  Fish that were being held in the quarantine system were treated with formalin and antibiotics to prevent them from becoming sick.  Fortunately, the fog returned to Carmel Valley and water temperature in the Facility gradually came back down to the low 60’s.  Although there was a spike in mortalities, most of the fish apparently made it through alright.  The overall fish survival at the end of the month was 89%.


During the last week of July, the new fiberglass rearing troughs were delivered to the Facility.  Staff will be setting these up as time allows this summer.