Meeting Date:

February 22, 2018





David J. Stoldt,




General Manager

Line Item No.:




Prepared By:

Beverly Chaney

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Review:N/A

Committee Recommendation:N/A

CEQA Compliance:This action does not constitute a project as defined by the California Environmental Quality Act Guidelines Section 15378.


AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:  Despite two modest storms in early January that brought the water level at Los Padres Reservoir up to just shy of the spillway crest, it failed to spill. River conditions below the dam remained relatively dry for this time of the year with only a brief spike to 70 cfs at the Near Carmel Gage.  Lower river rearing conditions for juvenile steelhead remain fair to good all the way to the lagoon, but low flows continue to limit upstream migration opportunities.

Mean daily streamflow at the Sleepy Hollow Weir ranged from 13 to 63 cfs (monthly mean 24.2 cfs) resulting in 1,490 acre-feet (AF) of runoff while mean daily streamflow at the Highway 1 gage ranged from 7.2 to 39 cfs (monthly mean 18.0 cfs), resulting in 1,100 AF of runoff.

There were 3.95 inches of rainfall in January as recorded at Cal-Amís San Clemente gauge. The rainfall total for WY 2018 (which started on October 1, 2017) is 4.97 inches, or 45% of the long-term year-to-date average of 11.12 inches. 

CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  On January 8th, as the lagoonís water surface elevation (WSE) rose to approximately 13.0 feet above mean-sea-level, threatening local flooding (see graph below).  Monterey County Public Works crews began mechanically cutting a narrow, shallow channel along the southern bluffs to allow the lagoon to gradually breach. The Districtís fisheries staff, working under contract with the county, was on-hand to survey and monitor the lagoon and surrounding area for any steelhead that could be affected by the work. The lagoon did breach on the 9th, but due to the low river inflows and high waves the sandbar reformed and the lagoon filled back up to 13.5 feet by January 20, requiring the County to re-cut the south channel. Staff was on-site again during the work as well as the next morning to see the river reach the ocean.Several hours later the sandbar had been washed away and the lagoon started emptying at ~3,000 cfs (see photo below). We estimate that the river mouth was open enough for steelhead passage over approximately eight days as it opened and closed with the tides the remainder of the month.


Water quality depth-profiles were conducted at five sites on January 18, in-between the two main breaching events. Waves were overtopping the sand berm and the lagoon was filling with seawater at the time of the sampling. Salinity level varied with depth (1-25 ppt), temperature had increased six degrees since December (54-56 degrees F), and dissolved oxygen (DO) levels were fair (2.1-8.7 mg/l) resulting in generally good steelhead rearing conditions in most of the lagoon.


LOS PADRES DAM ADULT COUNTS:Cal-Am maintains a fish ladder and trap at the Los Padres Dam site. Any adult steelhead captured in the trap are trucked to the reservoir and released. On January 25th, a resident adult trout was captured and moved upstream. No sea-run steelhead adults have been observed yet.



Carmel River Lagoon mouth, January 21, 2018, 5 pm.