Meeting Date:

October 20, 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 September 2008, Carmel River streamflow conditions were poor for all life stages of fish migration, and fair to poor for juvenile fish rearing.  As of September 30, the river front had dried back to approximately river mile (RM) 8.11, just below the Robinson Canyon Creek confluence.


During September 2008, the mean daily streamflow recorded at the District’s Carmel River at Sleepy Hollow Weir gaging station averaged 5.1 cubic feet per second (cfs) and ranged from 4.6 to 6.2 cfs.  During September 2008, 0.0 inches of rainfall were recorded at California American Water’s (CAW’s) San Clemente Dam.  The long-term average rainfall for September at this location is 0.15 inches.  The rainfall total for Water Year 2008 was 19.61 inches, which is 93% of the long-term average of 21.40 inches for the water year.  Since February 2008, only 0.54 inches of rain have been recorded, making this the third driest spring/summer recorded.


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 September 2008, the water surface elevation (WSE) decreased gradually from approximately 4.6 feet to 3.9 feet above mean sea level during the month (see chart below).  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.  This well’s gage shows that it added 71.2 acre-feet (AF) of water directly into the lagoon over the 30 day period.  The Carmel Area Wastewater District (CAWD) also began releasing recycled water (micro-filtered, and reverse-osmosis treated) for two hours a day last month to percolate into the riparian zone, starting Tuesday, September 2, 2008.  CAWD reporting indicates they released 5.43 AF through the end of the month.




JUVENILE STEELHEAD RESCUES: No additional rescues were needed in September. 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 September 30, 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 9,673 fish have died during rearing, for a total known mortality rate of 21% to date at the Facility.  During September, there were only 140 fish mortalities, ranging from 0 to 38 in the 14 rearing channel bays, due primarily to cooler water temperatures and no new rescued fish being added to the channel. 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.