consider DEVELOPMENT OF RECOMMENDATION TO THE BOARD oN Contract for Preparation of Los Padres Dam Fish Passage Study


Meeting Date:

April 5, 2016





Dave Stoldt,




General Manager





Prepared By:

Larry Hampson




SUMMARY:  The District received proposals from MWH and HDR to conduct a study of alternatives to provide volitional upstream passage for steelhead over Los Padres Dam and through the reservoir.  Proposals were reviewed by staff at MPWMD, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). California American Water, which will reimburse the District for expenses associated with the study, has also received copies of the proposals and has been advised of the reviews.


Attached as Exhibit 2-A and 2-B are portions of the proposals containing the technical aspects (the actual work proposed).  The HDR proposal cost of $280,597 is significantly less than the MWH proposal, which is priced at $346,500.  However, HDR proposed a somewhat different approach on two of the study tasks than MWH.  Staff has contacted both firms to discuss their proposals in an effort to have an “apples to apples” comparison of the proposals.


RECOMMENDATION:  At the time this staff note was prepared, staff had not fully resolved difference between the two proposals.  A recommendation concerning selection of a consultant will be made at the Committee meeting.


DISCUSSION:  Cal-Am’s General Rate Case (GRC) for 2015-2017 authorizes Cal-Am to co-fund studies with the District to develop a long-term management plan for Los Padres Dam (LP Dam) and Reservoir.  Studies will include evaluating upstream steelhead passage at LP Dam, whether the Carmel River is better or worse with surface storage at Los Padres Dam, and what options exist to maintain physical existing surface storage in Los Padres Reservoir (i.e., manage annual sediment inflow to the reservoir). Also included in the studies would be an analysis of the potential geomorphic effects of a resumption or increase of the natural flow of sediment.


The plan of study for the fish passage assessment is intended to build on recent improvements to downstream passage and comprehensively evaluate and recommend potential viable alternatives to improve upstream passage at LP Dam and through the reservoir.  At their January 20, 2016 meeting, the Water Supply Planning Committee reviewed the draft study plan and recommended representation from the Monterey Peninsula, the County of Monterey and environmental interests on the proposed Advisory Group.

During the proposal review with CDFW and NMFS, the NMFS representative (Joyce Ambrosius) pointed out that the Advisory Group would be more effective at evaluating the larger question of whether the Carmel River and steelhead habitat is better off with or without Los Padres Dam.  Staff concurs with this observation mainly because there is no real controversy about improving fish passage at the dam and through the reservoir.  It is a well-recognized and long-standing issue that requires an alternative that is technically, economically, and biologically feasible.  Staff recommends that the funds intended for an Advisory Group meeting be retained in the project budget, but used to enable an additional Technical Review Committee meeting, if necessary.



2-A      HDR proposal (selection)

2-B      MWH proposal (selection)