Meeting Date:

February 18 2019





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:   Los Padres Dam (LPD) spilled on December 18 and the river front reached the lagoon on December 19, 2018.  A series of large storms in January brought the river up to a peak of nearly 8,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) (see chart below). All the primary tributaries are now flowing to their confluence. Upstream migration conditions for adult steelhead are excellent. Downstream migration and rearing conditions for smolts and juvenile steelhead are good to excellent throughout the watershed. 

Mean daily streamflow at the Sleepy Hollow Weir ranged from 27 to 2,890 cfs (monthly mean 380 cfs) resulting in 23,390 acre-feet (AF) of runoff. Mean daily streamflow at the Highway 1 gage ranged from 19 to 2,750 cfs (monthly mean 367 cfs) resulting in 22,570 acre-feet (AF) of runoff.

There were 7.35 inches of rainfall in January as recorded at the San Clemente gauge (10.56 inches at LPR). The rainfall total for WY 2019 (which started on October 1, 2018) is 13.42 inches, or 120% of the long-term year-to-date average of 11.14 inches. 

LOS PADRES DAM ADULT COUNTS:  Cal-Am maintains a fish ladder and trap at the Los Padres Dam site. All adult steelhead captured in the trap are trucked to the reservoir and released.


The first sea-run adult steelhead arrived at the trap on January 16th, and as of January 31, eight adults (3 males/5 females) have been captured and translocated above the dam. This is one of the highest January returns to LPD since the 1980s. In 2017, only 7 adults were counted at LPD the entire season, and in 2018 there were no adult fish at LPD until March.


The downstream smolt bypass facility was activated in early January.


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  The lagoon mouth opened January 6, 2019 after the water surface elevation (WSE) rose to approximately 13.75 feet (North American Vertical Datum of 1988; NAVD 88)  (see graph below). After breaching, the WSE ranged from approximately 4.3 to 11 feet due to changes in river inflow combined with tidal and wave action.

Water quality depth-profiles were conducted at five sites on January 14, 2019 while the lagoon was open, the water surface elevation was 7 feet, and river inflow was 167 cfs. Steelhead rearing and migration conditions were generally “good”. Throughout the lagoon, salinity was low ranging from 0.1-5 ppt, dissolved oxygen (DO) levels were variable at 0.4-11mg/l (low in the back of the south arm), and water temperatures ranged from 51-57 degrees F.  


SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY:  General contractor Mercer-Fraser Company of Eureka, CA, was hired for the Intake Upgrade Project and started construction in September on the $2 million project. The main features of the project include installing a new intake structure that can withstand flood and drought conditions as well as the increased bedload from the San Clemente Dam removal project two years ago, and a new Recirculating Aquaculture System (RAS) that can be operated in times of low flow or high turbidity to keep the fish healthy. January work included completion of the settling basin, rearing channel improvements, start of the electrical work, and installation of the cooling tower.