Meeting Date:

May 21, 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 April 2007, Carmel River streamflow conditions were fair for juvenile steelhead rearing.  Streamflow conditions were poor for upstream and downstream migration, with continuous, but low flow to the Carmel River Lagoon, and discontinuous flow to the ocean.  During April 2007, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River at Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 18.7 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 16 to 23 cfs.  There were 1.05 inches of measurable rainfall in April as recorded by California American Water at San Clemente Dam, compared to the long-term April average of 1.72 inches at this site.  The rainfall total for Water Year 2007 to date (October – April) is 11.31 inches, 55% of the long term average of 20.74 inches through April. 


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  During April, the lagoon remained relatively full with the water surface elevation (WSE) slowly dropping to ~7.25 feet, before rising to ~9.6 feet near the end of the month (see chart below).   The outlet channel closed off on April 9, 2007 due to low river inflow and wave action moving the beach sand into the channel.  On April 27, a southern outlet channel was reopened by State Parks staff and local volunteers to allow steelhead kelts (spawned-out adults) and smolts access to the ocean.  Approximately 38 adults and four smolts were seen swimming out the new channel to the ocean.



WSE at the Carmel River Lagoon, April 2007



ADULT STEELHEAD COUNTS AT SAN CLEMENTE DAM:  The automated fish counter was installed in December 2006.  The first upstream migrating fish for the 2006-2007 season was counted on February 12, 2007 (see graph below).  As of March 31, 2007, 220 fish had been counted.  Due to the low WSE in San Clemente Reservoir and low flow in the fish ladder, the District’s fish counter was removed in early April to allow fish to move through the ladder without impediment.  All upstream migrating fish are being digitally video taped for planned future analysis. 















DEC 2006


JAN 2007


FEB 2007


MAR 2007



















JUVENILE STEELHEAD RESCUES:   In mid-April, fisheries staff walked the lower river from the Highway 1 Bridge to the Robinson Canyon Creek confluence (RM 8.1) to get a sense of the numbers of fish that will likely need to be rescued.  Very few fish of any age class were seen, but staff attempted to rescue one group of adults trapped in the Rancho Canada reach.  Several small storms in April kept flow in the river above 10 cfs and no juvenile rescues were needed.


Smolt Trap – In mid-April, fisheries and river maintenance staff installed a weir and box trap below the Narrows (RM 9.0) to catch downstream migrating steelhead smolts, kelts, and juveniles.  Without the trap, all these fish would likely need to be rescued from the lower river when it dries up. By trapping these fish, the smolts and kelts can be safely transported to the ocean and the juveniles (including fry) can be moved farther upstream to reaches that will remain wetted all summer.  As of April 30, 2007, approximately 1,050 juveniles, 150 smolts, and four kelts had been captured and transported.




SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY:  Staff continues to prepare the Facility to hold rescued fish.  In April, the cooling tower, chillers, and septic system were serviced, the rearing channel was power-washed, and the drain system checked for problems. In addition, plumbing and covers were installed on some rearing troughs, and the pumps, computer, and alarms systems were checked.