Meeting Date:

January 25, 2007





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 December 2006, Carmel River streamflow conditions were fair for juvenile steelhead rearing and fair to poor for downstream migration, with continuous flow to Via Mallorca Bridge (RM 3.25), and discontinuous flow and isolated pools between the lower end of Rancho Canada (RM 2.1) and Highway 1 (RM 1.1).


During December 2006, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District’s (District’s) Carmel River Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 11.5 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 8.1 to 23 cfs. 


There were 3.22 inches of measurable rainfall in December as recorded by Cal-Am at San Clemente Dam (SCD), compared to the long-term December average of 3.99 inches at this site.  The rainfall total for Water Year 2007 (October – December) to date is 4.54 inches, 66% of the long term average of 6.89 inches through December.


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  During December 2006, the lagoon’s WSE stayed relatively constant, between 5 and 6 feet above mean sea-level, as shown in the graph below.  The three downward spikes are data anomalies.


WSE at the Carmel River Lagoon, December 2006

CARMEL RIVER LAGOON STEELHEAD POPULATION ESTIMATE:  In mid-December, District staff co-lead a three-day, multi-agency and community volunteer effort to quantify the number of juvenile steelhead in the Carmel River Lagoon.  Project participants were from the following groups: NOAA Fisheries, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR), the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), the Carmel River Steelhead Association (CRSA), the Carmel River Watershed Council (CRWC), and students and staff from the CSUMB-Watershed Institute.  Due to the efforts over the summer to improve rearing conditions and steelhead survival, such as closing the lagoon mouth early and releasing treated wastewater into the lagoon, it was hoped that many fish survived through the summer and fall.


Using a large seine to capture fish from different areas of the lagoon, 284 fish were captured and marked with blue dye, then re-released back into the lagoon. The next two days, the same areas were seined again. The ratio of marked versus unmarked captured fish was used to calculate an estimated total lagoon steelhead population of 3,734.  The fish averaged approximately eight inches long and were in excellent condition.  In the past few years, the lagoon’s WSE was quite low in the fall, and water quality was poor, resulting in low fish survival.  Based on this year’s population estimate, it appears the changes made this past summer in the lagoon’s management were successful, resulting in a large cohort of smolt sized fish.


The last time such an effort was made to precisely estimate the steelhead population in the lagoon was in October 1996, when consultant Don Alley estimated there were 5,643 fish in the lagoon.  These two estimates are not directly comparable because they were collected in different months following different water year types. 


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 Facility’s quarantine tanks on July 17, 2006. 


As of December 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.   Overall known survival at the end of the month was 65% and ranged from 95 to 38% in the nine rearing channel bays and four quarantine tanks*.  Staff will begin releasing fish into the river as soon as there is continuous flow to the lagoon.


* Provisional data, subject to change