Meeting Date:

October 19, 2009





Darby Fuerst,




General Manager

Line Item No.:


Prepared By:

Thomas Christensen

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Review:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  N/A

CEQA Compliance:  N/A


IRRIGATION OF RIPARIAN VEGETATION: The supplemental watering of riparian restoration plantings resumed in April of 2009 at nine Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (District) riparian habitat restoration sites.  The following irrigation systems were in use from April through September: Trail and Saddle Club, Scarlett, Begonia, Schulte South, Schulte Bridge, Schulte, All Saints, Valley Hills, and San Carlos at Dow Property.


            Water Use in Acre-Feet (AF)

            (preliminary values subject to revision)


            January - March 2009              0.00 AF

            April - June 2009                     1.74

            July – September 2009             3.42

            Year-to-date                            5.16 AF


MONITORING OF RIPARIAN VEGETATION:   During the period May through September 2009, staff recorded weekly observations of canopy vigor on target willow and cottonwood trees to provide an indication of plant water stress and corresponding soil moisture levels.  Four locations (Rancho Cañada, San Carlos, Valley Hills, and Schulte) are monitored every week for canopy ratings based on a scale from one to eleven. This scale evaluates characteristics such as yellowing leaves and percentages of defoliation (see scale on Exhibit 22-A).  A total of 12 willows and 12 cottonwoods at these locations provide a data set of established and planted sample trees that are representative of trees in the Carmel River riparian corridor.  Soil moisture measurements are conducted at all four sites using tensiometers.  Soil moisture values are measured at four stations with 18-inch and 36-inch tensiometers in the soil column.  Combined with monthly readings from the District’s array of monitoring wells and pumping records for large-capacity Carmel Valley wells in the California American Water system, the District’s monitoring provides insight into the status of soil moisture through the riparian corridor.


Current monitoring results for the 2009 monitoring season to date show that riparian vegetation is below threshold stress levels.  Some signs of yellowing are occurring but the overall riparian corridor still shows obviously vigorous trees. The graphs in Exhibit 22-A and 22-B show average canopy ratings for willows and cottonwoods in selected restoration sites in the lower Carmel Valley and impacts to water table elevations.


The types of monitoring measurements made during May through September 2009 are as follows:


            Monitoring Measurement

            Canopy Ratings                                    (See Exhibit 22-A for trends.) 

            Soil moisture (tensiometers)                                         

            Groundwater levels (monitoring wells)   (See Exhibit 22-B for trends.) 

            Groundwater pumping (production wells)                     




1.         Woods/Marotta Repairs:  Monterey Peninsula Engineering (MPE) began streambank restoration work on August 12, 2009.   The District worked with an MPE crew to identify and salvage riparian trees affected by project activities.  Salvaged plants were incorporated into the restored streambank.  MPWMD staff will regularly visit the site and monitor for conformance to the requirements described in the MPWMD River Work Permit for the project. The project was completed in mid September 2009.


2.         Conservation Corps Assists with Carmel River Vegetation Management: District staff and a California Conservation Corps work crew completed one week of “vegetation management” work along the Carmel River starting on September 21, 2009. Vegetation was selectively removed from five critical areas with vegetation encroachment in the channel bottom. A total of 965 lineal feet of stream was opened up. These sites were chosen to minimize the potential that high flows would be directed from the center of the channel toward the bank, possibly causing erosion and property damage.



22-A    Average Willow and Cottonwood Canopy Rating

22-B    Depth to Groundwater