Meeting Date:

February 22, 2018





David J. Stoldt,

General Manager


Protect Environmental Quality



Line Item No.:

  2-3-1- G


Prepared By:

Larry Hampson

Cost Estimate:


(100% Reimbursed)


General Counsel Review:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on February 13, 2018 and recommended approval.

CEQA Compliance:  The District adopted a Mitigated Negative Declaration for this project on November 14, 2016.


SUMMARY:  The California State Coast Conservancy (SCC) is proposing to disburse up to $1,800,000 as a grant to the District from California American Water (Cal-Am) Settlement Agreement funds to construct improvements at the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility located along the Carmel River downstream of the former San Clemente Dam.  The improvements are necessary to prevent catastrophic failure in the plumbing system when fine sediment moves through the river or when river flow is too low to allow once-through use at the facility.  Construction of the improvements is tentatively scheduled to begin in late spring or early summer of 2018 and may not be complete until fall of 2019.


At its November 30, 2017 meeting, the SCC Board of Directors approved entering into a funding agreement with the District for the project, subject to meeting requirements for the work.   Exhibit 4-A is a Resolution to enter into an agreement with the SCC for funds to complete the work.  Project work is expected to take approximately one year to complete.


RECOMMENDATION:  If this item is approved as part of the Consent Calendar, the Board will adopt Resolution 2018-02, which authorizes the General Manager to enter into an agreement with the California State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) to receive up to $1,800,000 in grant funds to improve the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility intake.



Existing Facilities Description:  One of the projects proposed in the 1990 Allocation EIR Mitigation Program was to construct a facility to raise steelhead rescued each year from the dewatered portions of the river.  In 1996, the District built and began operating the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility (SHSRF) to raise juvenile steelhead rescued from the Carmel River.  MPWMD rescues an average of about 16,000 fish each year, with just over 84,000 rescued in 2008 (note: high numbers of fish rescues correlate with low water conditions and vice-versa).  A portion of the rescued fish are placed into the SHSRF, where approximately 50% survive the dry season and are then released to the river in the fall or early winter, normally after wet season rains begin.


The SHSRF, which is located about 0.6 miles downstream of San Clemente Dam, consists of an instream river diversion, a pump station, two large circular holding tanks, eight rearing troughs, an 800-foot long simulated natural rearing channel, and miscellaneous support systems.  The facility was upgraded in 2000 with a cooling system and pump improvements to handle river water that is heated as it passes through Los Padres and San Clemente Reservoirs. 


The original design of the project was based on three key assumptions: 1) clear water (i.e., free of sediment and debris) would be available during the rearing season; and 2) the facility would be operated only during the dry season when river diversions reduce the amount of rearing habitat in the main stem; and 3) a design flow-through rate of one cubic foot per second (cfs). Currently, the intake is not filtered and pumps are not designed to handle gritty material.  Another weakness with the current design is that organic material (mostly leaves in the late summer and fall) can clog the drum screen in the bottom of the river channel at low flows.  Even with frequent cleaning, reduced flow through the screen can cause pump cavitation and lead to failure.  Subsequent to the initial construction, the flow-through rate was doubled to 2 cfs in order to improve water quality; however, when releases from storage at Los Padres Reservoir are cut back to a minimum (as happened this past year), the pump system is subject to failure from cavitation.  Flow through the facility is by gravity, so an interruption in flow of more than a few hours can result in fish stress and/or mortality.


Changed Conditions:  California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have requested that MPWMD rear fish at the SHSRF later into the year, in order to allow the re-watered Carmel River to more fully recover, and provide a more restored food chain, prior to the reintroduction of the rescued native fish to their previously dewatered habitat.  Doing so requires the SHSRF to operate through the fall at very low river flows and into initial winter storms of the year, which cover the existing intake screen and pump gallery, denying access for maintenance and repairs.  After removal of San Clemente Dam in 2015, a significant amount of bedload sediment (sand, silt, and gravel) has flowed through the river channel that, if entrained at the intake, will cause the intake pumps to fail suddenly and catastrophically.


Need for Project:  The water intake for the SHSRF must be modified to ensure an uninterruptable supply of water to the facility during future adverse Carmel River conditions that include increased sediment flow, organic loading, and both very low and very high river flows.


The SHSRF will likely stay in full operation as a mitigation for Cal-Am’s Carmel River diversions until replacement water supply projects are completed and fully operational (currently scheduled for late 2021).  After replacement water supplies are completed, operation of SHSRF may still be required in order to mitigate for Carmel River diversions that are likely to continue

to impact aquatic habitat in the dry season.  In addition, there may be a long-term need for the facility, as it does not appear that the Carmel River steelhead population will be recovered in the foreseeable future to the self-sustaining population level proposed in the NMFS South-Central California Coast Steelhead Recovery Plan.

In 2014, MPWMD entered into a funding agreement with SCC for project design, preparation of environmental documents, and permit acquisition.  Final design plans and permits are expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2018.


Project Funding:  In 2009, the California Department of Fish and Game (now CDFW) entered into a Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and California American Water (Cal-Am) for the purpose of disbursing funds paid by Cal-Am to mitigate for impacts to steelhead from unauthorized water diversions along the Carmel River.  Cal-Am conveyed $3.5 million to CDFG in July 2009 and annual installments of an additional $1.1 million are paid each July 1 through 2016 for a total of $11.2 million.  Project improvements at the SHSRF will be funded by funds already paid by Cal-Am.


NMFS, the agent for NOAA, Cal-Am and SCC recently executed an amended Settlement Agreement to enable Cal-Am to continue funding additional projects with $1.1 million per year through 2021. 


Project goals:

·         Prevent silt, sand, and organic material from entering the rearing channel.

·         Improve the District’s ability to maintain the river water pumps.

·         Reduce wear damage to pumps.

·         Allow the SHSRF to operate for longer periods.

·         Improve water quality and increase flows in the rearing channel.


Work Plan, Budget, and Schedule: MPWMD will work with SCC on a Work Plan that will include development and review and a budget for construction bids for the proposed improvements and proposals for professional services.    A detailed schedule will be developed for inclusion in an agreement with SCC. MPWMD will provide project review and be responsible for overall grant administration.


At a future meeting, the MPWMD Board of Directors will be requested to consider construction bids and proposals for services and approve entering into agreements for construction and services.  Grant funding for these services is capped at $450,000.


IMPACT ON FISCAL AND STAFF RESOURCES:  The 2017-18 mid-year budget adjustment shows $50,000 in line item 2-3-1 G “Facility Upgrade (construction),” which would be reimbursed.  The balance of the grant would be budgeted in FY2018-19 with most of the expenses for the project occurring in that fiscal year.  Several District staff would be involved in managing the project and in carrying out certain mitigation measures.  MPWMD is not proposing to be reimbursed for these services unless project costs are less than grant funding. 



4-A      MPWMD Board Resolution 2018-02