Meeting Date:

September 18, 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 August 2006, Carmel River streamflow conditions were fair to critical for juvenile steelhead rearing, and poor to critical for downstream migration, with intermittent streamflow below Valley Greens Road bridge and dry between Via Mallorca Road and the Rancho Cañada golf course reach, around Cal-Am’s large production well.  Conditions both above and below theses dry reaches were generally poor with low flow and high afternoon water temperatures.


During August 2006, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 13.8 cubic feet per second (cfs), and ranged from 11 to 16 cfs.


There were 0.00 inches of measurable rainfall in August 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, and the District, in order 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 August, the WSE had dropped to approximately 3.8 feet, as shown below.




WSE at the Carmel River Lagoon, August 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.  By the end of August, rescues had been completed between Highway 1 and the Valley Greens Road Bridge (RM 4.8). Approximately 14,400 juvenile steelhead were captured and moved to the Sleepy Hollow Facility, including approximately 13,200 young-of-the-year (YOY) fish and 1,200 large juveniles (1+ year olds).  Rescue mortalities were very low at 0.2% (29 fish).


SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY (Facility):  The Facility was fully operational 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 August 31, 2006, 10,656 fish had been stocked in the rearing channel, including 9,351 young-of-the-year (YOY) fish, 783 intermediate size YOY and older juveniles, and 522 large juveniles (1+ year olds).  Each size class was placed in a separate section of the channel. 


After record high air temperatures at the Facility in late July (>100 degrees for five straight days) and water temperatures in the rearing channel reaching 75 degrees F for two days, the temperatures in August were mild. By mid-month the rearing channel had water temperatures in the low to mid-60’s, and even a few mornings at 59 degrees F.   Fish mortality was quite low until the last week of August, when many of the YOY fish became infected with bacteria causing a spike in mortalities.  It is unclear what caused the infections.  It is possible that the water coming from San Clemente Reservoir just upstream of the Facility might be the source of the high bacterial concentrations.  The water is quite turbid (~8 NTU) and forms a sticky brown foam and particulate layer in the rearing channel from decaying organic material and hydrogen sulfide and other components released from the sediments of the down-cutting reservoir.  Overall survival at the end of the month was 90%.