Meeting Date:

March 21, 2016





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:  N/A


AQUATIC HABITAT AND FLOW CONDITIONS:  After a strong January, February was much drier and hopes for a wet El Niño winter began to fade as temperatures climbed over 80 degrees in Carmel Valley. 

Flow conditions in the lower Carmel River remained good to excellent for migration and rearing of all steelhead life stages, but several tributaries dried at their confluence. Mean daily streamflow at the Sleepy Hollow Weir ranged from 48 to 127 cubic feet-per-second (cfs) (mean 70.0 cfs) resulting in 4,049 acre-feet (AF) of runoff, while flows at the Highway 1 gage ranged from 57 to 153 cubic feet-per-second (cfs) (mean 83 cfs), resulting in 4,770 acre-feet (AF) of runoff.

February was mostly dry and warm with only 1.69 inches of rainfall recorded at Cal-Am’s San Clemente gauge (39% of the long-term February average). The rainfall total to date for WY 2016 (which started on October 1, 2015) is 16.00 inches, or 104% of the long-term year-to-date average of 15.41 inches.


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  The lagoon connected to the ocean on January 11, 2016. During February, the water surface elevation (WSE) ranged between approximately 1.5 and 10.5 feet above mean-sea-level as it oscillated with the tides and brief closures (see graph below).


Water-quality profiles were conducted in mid-February at five lagoon sites. Overall, surface water conditions were “good to excellent” for steelhead rearing with water temperatures in the mid-50s degrees Fahrenheit and dissolved oxygen (DO) ranging from 7 - 11 mg/L.  Due to tidal influx and wave action, salinity levels were generally higher than in January, especially in the deeper main body of the lagoon, ranging from 3 to 32 parts per thousand (ppt). 


ADULT STEELHEAD COUNTS:  The DIDSON camera was installed in the lower valley on January 12, 2016. The data are currently being reviewed and preliminary results will be reported once available. No adult fish have been observed at the Los Padres Dam fish ladder through February.


REDD SURVEYS:  Staff completed a full river length steelhead redd survey (Highway 1 to Los Padres Dam - 24 miles) in February to count both redds and adult fish, observe spawning habitat, and look for migration barriers.  Fourteen steelhead redds and 28 Pacific Lamprey redds were counted. No steelhead were observed.


INSTREAM FLOW STUDY:  District staff is currently working on an updated instream flow model based on hydraulic conditions measured along stream cross sections, or transects, placed in a variety of different habitats.


In February, habitat unit selection, transect placement and total sample size were selected in consultation with staff from NMFS, CDFW, and the SWRCB.