Meeting Date:

September 22, 2008





Darby Fuerst,




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 2008, Carmel River streamflow conditions were poor for all life stages of fish migration, and fair to poor for juvenile fish rearing.  As of August 31, the river front had dried back to approximately river mile (RM) 8.11, just below the Robinson Canyon Creek confluence.


During August 2008, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River at Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 5.2 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 4.6 to 6.1 cfs.  During August 2008, 0.0 inches of rainfall were recorded at California American Water’s (CAW’s) San Clemente Dam.  The long-term average rainfall for August at this location is 0.04 inches.  The rainfall total for Water Year 2008 to date is 19.61 inches, which is 93% of the long-term average of 21.25 inches for the water year to date.  Since February 2008, only 0.54 inches of rain have been recorded, making this the driest spring/summer since 1997.


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  The lagoon closed naturally on April 29, 2008.  To enhance steelhead rearing habitat in the lagoon over the summer, California State Parks crews fortified the sand berm with bulldozers on May 5, 2008, by pushing beach sand to raise the berm elevation and prevent future breaching.  During August 2008, the water surface elevation (WSE) increased gradually from approximately 3.7 feet to 4.5 feet above mean sea level during the month.  It is assumed this occurred mainly from seawater overtopping the beach. 


In addition, on Thursday afternoon, August 28, 2008, the Carmel River Steelhead Association worked with the California State Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) to re-start an inactive agricultural well, west of Highway 1, to pump approximately 500 gallons/minute ( 2.21 acre feet/day) of CDPR groundwater into the lagoon to supplement water quality.  The District has offered to help DP&R analyze the well water, in order to characterize its quality, and provided them with historical data form nearby monitoring wells that might represent the quality of the water coming from the reactivated well.  The Carmel Area Wastewater District also intends to begin releasing recycled water for two hours a day to percolate into the riparian zone, starting Tuesday, September 2, 2008.  This should add about 100,000 gallons/day of good quality, micro-filtered, and reverse-osmosis treated water to riparian zone, which will also benefit the lagoon.






JUVENILE STEELHEAD RESCUES: District staff began its annual summer juvenile steelhead rescues on May 14, 2008.  As of August 31, 2008, approximately 83,380 steelhead have been rescued from the lower eight miles of the Carmel River between the Highway 1 Bridge and Robinson Canyon Bridge.  Of this total, there were 82,900 "young-of-the-year" (YOY) steelhead that were born this year and are now about 3 to 5 inches long, 83 age 1+ juveniles, one smolt, one adult and 395 mortalities (0.47%).  Of the total, approximately 48,024 steelhead (57%) have been transported to the District's Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility (Facility) in upper Carmel Valley, 25,347 (30%) were released back into the Carmel River, and 9,612 (11.5%) fish were released into the Carmel River Lagoon.


SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY:  The first rescued fish were brought to the Facility on May 14, 2008.   As of August 31, 2008, approximately 47,657 fish have been placed in the Facility’s rearing channel and tanks.  So far, 322 fish have been lost during their initial quarantine periods and 9,813 fish have died during rearing, for a total mortality rate of 21% to date at the Facility.  The tally of fish received at the Facility is less than that shown being delivered in the rescue section above, due to accounting errors in the two separate sets of records that will be reconciled after the end of the rescue season.