Meeting Date:

June 21, 2021





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:  Dry conditions continued in May, marking the fourth dry month in a row. By month’s end, river flows were less than 10 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs) in the lower valley, resulting in poor adult and smolt migration conditions and fair to poor rearing conditions.

April’s mean daily streamflow at the Sleepy Hollow Weir fell from 19 to 8.4 cfs (monthly mean 12.9 cfs) resulting in 783 acre-feet (AF) of runoff, while the Highway 1 gage fell from 16 to 3.3 cfs (monthly mean 8.9 cfs) resulting in 549 AF of runoff.

There were 0.00 inches of rainfall in May as recorded at the San Clemente gauge. The rainfall total for WY 2021 (which started on October 1, 2020) is 10.85 inches, or 52% of the long-term year-to-date average of 20.83 inches. 


CARMEL RIVER LAGOON:  During May, the lagoon mouth remained closed. The water surface elevation (WSE) rose from approximately 9.2 to 11 feet (North American Vertical Datum of 1988; NAVD 88) (See graph below).


Water quality depth-profiles were conducted at five sites on May 18, 2021, while the lagoon mouth was closed, water surface elevation was 10.75 feet, and river inflow was 8.7 cfs. Steelhead rearing conditions were generally “good”, especially in the upper two meters of the water column. Salinity ranged from 1 - 27 ppt, dissolved oxygen (DO) levels were good, ranging from 3 – 9 mg/l, while water temperatures were higher than last month, ranging from 62 - 73 degrees F.


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 February 4, 2021. The trap was turned off for the summer on May 6th due to low water conditions in the river. Two additional adults were captured on May 5th, for a season total of 63 adults (36 males/28 females/1 unknown).


STEELHEAD REDD SURVEYS:  Fisheries staff completed two redd (nest) surveys in the Carmel River mainstem in March (Rosie’s Bridge to the lagoon) and April (LPD to the lagoon). Overall, 115 steelhead redds were observed, primarily above Robinson Canyon Road bridge. Thirteen adult fish were seen, as well as many fry, throughout the upper reaches of the river. Additionally, 151 lamprey redds were observed, also primarily upstream of Robinson Canyon.


CARMEL RIVER MAINSTEM STEELHEAD RESCUES:  Mainstem rescues began on May 27, 2021. Staff completed 2 days of fish rescues in the lower river in May in the Rancho Canada reach. A total of 242 juvenile steelhead were rescued including: 210 young-of-the-year (Fry), 32 age 1+ fish. All fish were transported to the Sleepy Hollow Steelhead Rearing Facility.


SLEEPY HOLLOW STEELHEAD REARING FACILITY: The first rescued fish were brought to the facility on May 27, 2021.  Due to the very small size of most of the fish, fry will be reared in the rectangular “rearing troughs” until they are large enough to be transferred to the rearing channel. By the end of May, 32 fish (small/medium size), had been placed in rearing channel and 179 fry are in the troughs.



Carmel River Lagoon Plot:






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