Meeting Date:

January 24, 2018





Dave Stoldt,




General Manager

Line Item No.:



Prepared By:

Kevan Urquhart

Cost Estimate:



General Counsel Approval:  N/A

Committee Recommendation:  The Administrative Committee reviewed this item on January 24, 2018 and recommended ______.

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


SUMMARY:  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP) solicits proposals annually in the spring of each year for projects that restore, enhance, or protect anadromous salmonid habitat in the coastal watersheds of California or projects that lead to restoration, enhancement, or protection of anadromous salmonid habitat.  The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District identified an expansion of our exiting monitoring efforts that may be eligible to receive grant funds from this program.  Applications for grant funds were due to CDFW on or before April 8, 2017.  The application process initially blocked the District from applying, but due to intervention by the General Manger with the State Secretary of Resources, John Laird, artificial barriers to our application were modified, and an application was developed on short notice, precluding prior Board approval.  Authorization from the District Board is required to enter into a contract with CDFW if we receive the grant, or to reapply again in 2018 if our application is not funded in the current grant cycle (see Exhibit 6-A, Resolution 2018-01).


RECOMMENDATION:  If this item is approved as part of the Consent Calendar, the Board will adopt Resolution 2010-01 to apply for grant funding from the FRGP and will authorize the General Manager to enter into a contract with the CDFW to receive grant funds.


BACKGROUND:  Monitoring Status and Trends (MD) was a focus area for projects that can be funded in 2017-18.  The majority of FRGP funds are derived from Federal Endangered
Species Act disbursements for salmonid recovery.  The Carmel River is considered a priority watershed for recovery and monitoring within the South Central Coast, Distinct Population Segment of steelhead.  Applications for funds are received on a statewide basis, and will be judged competitively.


District staff propose to apply to the FRGP for an expansion of the District’s existing monitoring efforts, in order to make our program meet the CDFW’s and National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) standards for a Life Cycle Monitoring Station (LCMS), under their joint Coastal Monitoring Program (CMP).  No local funding match is required for these projects; however the value of staff time contributed by MPWMD to project management and field project oversight will be identified for credit as a local funding match.  The FRGP also allows a grantee to be reimbursed for administrative overhead up to 15% of the amount requested.  Administrative overhead includes but is not limited to utilities, offices space rental, phone and copying, which is directly related to completion of the proposed project.  The amount of grant funds to be requested for these projects in the three years of 2018-2020 is budgeted at $641,316 ($213,772/year), in support of a total three-year program cost estimated at $960,062 ($320,021/year). 


Local matches are encouraged and rank higher projects that are in the competitive portion of the FRGP.  The District proposed a local match consisting of our staff time and resources to manage the project.  CDFW intends to award grant contracts for all funded projects in early 2018, for implementation in fall 2018 through 2020.


Installation of a New Resistance Board Fish Counting Weir in the Lower Carmel River, Supplemented by Two DIDSON Sonic Fish Counting Devices Upstream.  Steelhead migrating upstream were counted at the San Clemente Dam (SCD) fish ladder at River Mile 18.6 until 2015, and continue to be so at the Los Padres Dam (LPD) trap at River Mile 24.8.  However, an unknown but a potentially large and significant number of fish (estimated at more than 40% of the annual run) likely spawn in the lower river, but were never counted as part of the annual run at either dam.  A Dual Frequency Identification Sonar [DIDSON] device was installed at a location in the lower three miles of the Carmel River, under a prior FRGP grant in Water Year 2013, to count immigrating adult steelhead.  However, the entry of large numbers of striped bass into the river, which cannot be distinguished from steelhead, has rendered that monitoring ineffective.  The District proposes to replace it with a physical weir that will guide all adult fish into a trap to be counted, weighed, measured, and their sex determined.  The exiting DIDSON installation will be retained and operated about 2.5 miles upstream as a short-term research effort to calibrate DIDSON counts with Weir counts, then discontinued.  A new second DIDSON will be installed an operated at the Sleepy Hollow Ford Bridge to recreate the time line of the historic counts at SCD, interrupted by dam removal in 2015.  These efforts would allow the District to enumerate the whole Carmel River steelhead run, and partition it into three subsets of the watershed: Highway 1 to SCD, SCD to LPD, and above LPD.  Doing so can a) document the amount of spawning occurring below San Clemente Dam, b) whether those steelhead are numerous enough to alter the annual trends in abundance previously derived only from SCD counts; c) conclusively document increased utilization of, and spawning in, the Lower Carmel River that likely resulted from decades of the District’s riparian and stream restoration projects, and d) to irrefutably document progress towards Endangered Species Act Recovery goals.


Expansion of Steelhead Spawning Substrate and Redd Surveys.  The grant will expands the District’s current redd surveys that occur only on the main-stem river downstream from LPD.  We are only able to conduct these surveys once or twice a year with existing staff.  The grant will expand the effort into the tributaries, and expand it to as much as a monthly, watershed-wide repetitive survey from December through May.  This effort is necessary to meet the CDFW and NMFS standards for a LCMS compatible with their interagency CMP.


Expansion of Passive Integrative Tag (PIT) Monitoring of Juvenile and Adult Steelhead.  The grant will help the District expand its cooperative efforts in support of the NMFS’ Southwest Fisheries Science Center to estimate freshwater survival and return rates of wild fish, with the intent of eventually developing a bioenergetics life history model that better explains the trends and fluctuations in the annual abundance of juvenile and adult steelhead, in the Carmel River.  This work can also inform and beneficially focus future restoration efforts to increase freshwater survival and production of juvenile steelhead.  The grant will help support the installation, upgrade, or replacement of PIT tag detection arrays at up to six sites, and the tagging of wild fish.


Initiate Emigrating Juvenile Steelhead Smolt Monitoring.  We will use the District’s existing screw trap, currently on loan to Monterey County Water Resources Agency in the Salinas River, supplemented with floating fyke traps at flows too low to run the screw trap, when needed.   We will trap and mark emigrating juvenile steelhead to estimate emigration timing, watershed wide juvenile smolt production, and the proportion of PIT tagged emigrating smolts that come from various areas in the watershed.  This type of data has never been collected on the Carmel River before, and is an essential component of a LCMS to be compatible with the interagency CMP.


IMPACT ON FISCAL AND STAFF RESOURCES:  Funds in the form of staff time are proposed to be used by MPWMD as a local match in grant applications, but the grant will also reimburse a fraction of existing permanent staff time up to $34,463 over three years.  The grant will cover the hiring of one new full time Fisheries Technician as a three year position, whose continuation is subject to grant renewal.  The grant will cover all additional temporary staff time need for the expanded field work.  The District’s Senior Fisheries Biologist would be involved in the development of grant applications and managing grant contracts if the District is successful in obtaining grants, and both Associate Biologists would be lead-persons over various elements of the grant.  Costs for their time, and proportions of selected Administrative Services Division support staff will be documented and are proposed for credit as the local funding match.  In addition, the District may be eligible for reimbursement of up to 15% of the requested amount of grant funding for administrative overhead. 



6-A      MPWMD Board Resolution 2018-01