ITEM:

INFORMATIONAL ITEMS/STAFF REPORTS

 

20.

CARMEL RIVER FISHERY REPORT

 

Meeting Date:

December 11, 2006

Budgeted:

N/A

 

From:

David A. Berger,

Program/

N/A

 

General Manager

Line Item No.:

 

 

 

Prepared By:

Beverly Chaney

Cost Estimate:

N/A

 

General Counsel Approval:N/A

Committee Recommendation:N/A

CEQA Compliance:N/A

 

AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:During October 2006, Carmel River streamflow conditions were fair to critical for juvenile steelhead rearing and poor to critical for downstream migration, with mostly dry conditions downstream of Cal-Amís Pearce Well (RM 5.68).

 

During October 2006, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the Monterey Peninsula Water Management Districtís (Districtís) Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 8.3 cubic feet per second (cfs), and ranged from 7.3 to 9.4 cfs.

There were 0.16 inches of measurable rainfall in October as recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD), compared to the long-term October average of 0.70 inches at this site.The rainfall total for Water Year 2007 to date is 0.16 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 lagoonís WSE slowly dropped to 6.0 feet.By the end of August, the WSE had dropped to approximately 3.8 feet.

 

In mid-September, the Carmel Area Wastewater District (CAWD) released approximately 1.73 acre feet (AF) of tertiary-treated, recycled water from their treatment plant, into the riparian zone near the top end of the lagoon, raising the lagoonís WSE to approximately 4.6 feet from a low of 3.5 feet earlier in the month.In October 2006, an additional 4.5 AF of water was released into the riparian zone south of the plant.Between August and October 2006, approximately 28.3 AF (~9.2 million gallons) of treated, recycled water were released by CAWD into the Carmel Lagoon to improve the habitat conditions for steelhead and other lagoon species.

 

WSE at the Carmel River Lagoon, October 2006

 

 

JUVENILE STEELHEAD POPULATION AND EMBEDEDNESS SURVEYS:Staff began the annual juvenile steelhead population surveys in Mid-October, finishing ten of the eleven sites, between Mid-Carmel Valley and the Cachagua area, by the end of the month.The final site will be completed in early November.

 

The annual embeddedness survey was also completed by mid-October at the same ten sites.This survey measures how deeply the rocky substrate is buried in sand at each site.This measure is important because as sand fills the interstitial spaces between rocks, the amount of habitat for juvenile fish and the production of benthic macro-invertebrates (BMI) for fish food declines.Highly embedded gravel is also difficult for adult fish to spawn in, and migrating sand can bury redds thus suffocating the eggs.

 

ADULT STEELHEAD COUNTS AT SAN CLEMENTE DAM:Each winter District staff installs an automatic adult fish counter at the San Clemente Dam Ladder.The past two years fisheries staff has been working with IT staff on the installation and programming of a digital surveillance camera that we hope to use to calibrate the counter, and assess the condition, size, and sex of the fish.All fish migrating over the counter are now recorded for future reference.The main problem has been the amount of staff time required to review and analyze the video.

 

In October, staff met with representatives from Object Video and OJO Technology to talk about post processing video software for the digital video. This software appears to be a possible solution to video processing challenges we have been facing in the past; i.e. getting software to accurately detect fish passing the mechanical fish counter, without having staff spend countless hours observing video.If the software works, we will be able to accurately calibrate the present fish counter, and correct for missed fish that may have jumped over the counter, to achieve a more accurate count of run size.This software may also be able to take separate pictures of all individual fish crossing the counter, allowing us to evaluate sex and size of each fish.This information will give us better data to make more accurate evaluations of steelhead spawning success within the Carmel River, while utilizing less staff time.

 

JUVENILE STEELHEAD RESCUES:No rescues were needed in October 2006.

 

SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY (SHSRF or Facility):The Facility was fully operational by the end of June 2006.The first batch of rescued fish was placed in the Facilityís quarantine tanks on July 17, 2006.As of October 31, 2006, 16,405 fish had been stocked in the Facility, including 11,480 young-of-the-year (YOY) fish, 1,223 intermediate size YOY and older juveniles, 706 large juveniles (1+ year olds), and 2,996 fish being held in the quarantine tanks. Each size class was placed in a separate section of the rearing channel.Overall known survival in the rearing channel at the end of the month was 61% and ranged from 95 to 39% in the nine bays.Approximately 179 fish (1.1%) died while in quarantine between July and September 2006.*

 

The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) pathologist paid a second visit to the Facility in early September and diagnosed a moderately-high level Flavobacterium outbreak and a mild Ich ciliate outbreak in some reaches of the channel.The CDFG pathologist recommended keeping as many fish in the quarantine tanks as possible (to avoid subjecting them to the infected fish in the channel) and treating the fish already in the channel with a salt bath.

 

During September and October, staff performed two salt bath treatments on the YOY fish in the lower rearing channel in an attempt to curtail the bacterial infection.Itís not clear that there were any positive effects of the treatment, but no negative effects were seen.The main difficulty was in getting a high enough salt concentration, for the required amount of time, in the flow-through channel to kill the bacteria.

 

* Provisional data, subject to change

 

 

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