Meeting Date:

June 18, 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 May 2007, Carmel River streamflow conditions were poor to fair for juvenile steelhead rearing with continuous, but low flow down to the California American Water (CAW) Cypress Well site (River Mile 5.4) and isolated pools to just above the USGS “Near Carmel” gaging station (RM 3.2).  During May, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River at Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 10.4 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 6.7 to 15.0 cfs.  For additional flow information, see  There were 0.06 inches of rainfall recorded at San Clemente Dam in May by CAW, compared to the long-term May average of 0.45 inches at this site.  The rainfall total for Water Year 2007 to date (October – May) is 11.37 inches, 54% of the long-term average of 21.18 inches through May. 


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  During May, the lagoon’s water surface elevation (WSE) dropped approximately 3.5 feet from 9.5 feet to 6.0 feet (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.  In early May, staff and volunteers from California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), California State University at Monterey Bay (CSUMB), and the Carmel River Steelhead Association (CRSA) seined parts of the lagoon and captured 74 steelhead kelts (spawned-out adults) and released them to the ocean.




WSE at the Carmel River Lagoon, May 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 April 2, 2007, 222 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


APR 2007


















JUVENILE STEELHEAD RESCUES: Staff began its annual summer juvenile steelhead rescues on May 7, 2007.  As of May 31, 2007, approximately 5,503 steelhead have been rescued from the lower six miles of the Carmel River between the Highway 1 Bridge and the All Saints Episcopal Day School.  Most of the fish rescued are "young-of-the-year" (YOY) steelhead fry that were born this year and are about 1-inch long.  Most of these rescued steelhead were transported to the District's Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility (Facility) in the Upper Carmel Valley for rearing.  However, of this total, 828 steelhead were released in Garland Park or near Garzas Creek in the upper river, before the Facility came on-line for the year.


Smolt Trap – On April 17, 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, it is likely that all these fish would have needed to be rescued from the lower river, as it dried up.  By trapping these fish, the smolts and kelts could be safely transported to the ocean and the juveniles (including fry) could be moved farther upstream to reaches that would remain wetted all summer.  The trap was removed on May 31, 2007, as declining flows had reduced the number of migrating juvenile fish to less than 30 fish per day, with no smolts observed for the last four days.  A total of 4,284 fish were trapped and transported, including 4,013 YOY fry and age 1+ juveniles, 264 smolts, and seven kelts.


SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY:  The first rescued fish were brought to the Facility on May 14, 2007.   As of May 31, 2007, 4,419 fish (4,292 YOY fry and 127 age 1+ juveniles) are being held in seven tanks and troughs.  Most of the YOY fish are quite small and represent a unique rearing challenge at the Facility.  So far, 58 fish have been lost during their initial quarantine periods and 97 fish have died during rearing, for a total mortality rate to date at the Facility of 3.4%