Steelhead trout is a threatened species and depends on strong river flows to migrate upstream. When winter rains come high flows in the Carmel River open the Carmel River Lagoon to the ocean. This is when adult steelhead can migrate upstream.
Over the next one to two summers, juvenile steelhead grow strong, then change into smolts as they swim down the river and through the Carmel River Lagoon to the Pacific Ocean where they mature into large, silver-colored adults before returning to the Carmel River to continue the cycle.
Sometimes though, Mother Nature’s power erodes the stream banks of the river. This erosion can threaten homes and infrastructure. When MPWMD must stabilize a streambank, it strives to incorporate steelhead habitat features such as large wood and rootwads.