Presentation of the Watershed Action Plan was made for each of the 9 sections of the Action Plan. The nine categories and number of comments recorded are:
Cross-Cutting Actions (CC) (1-10)
Sedimentation (SED) (11-13)
Flow (FLOWS) (14-18)
Steelhead (SH) —
Habitat (HAB) (19-21)
Public Outreach and Education (PUB) (22-23)
Water Quantity (WQ) (24-25)
Groundwater (GW) (26-29)
Public Safety (PS) (30-31)
General Comments on the Plan (32-40)
A total of 40 comments were given from workshop participants. Comments were recorded by the facilitators (Monica Hunter and Sara Johnson). Eight of the nine categories had comments (Steelhead was the only category that had no public comment). At the close of the presentations on the nine sections of the Watershed Action Plan, comments were recorded from the final comments given by workshop participants.
Responses from members of the TAC have been edited for brevity by Clive Sanders, Project Manager.
Cross-Cutting Actions (CC)
- AP-1 Groundwater actions should include a CC action to establish a water budget.
This is covered in GW 1 and CC5.
- AP-2 By listing so many actions, nothing will get done unless you prioritize the list.
Prioritization will occur when the Carmel River Watershed Group is formed.
- AP-3 Who is on the Technical Advisory Committee presently? How will they be selected in the future?
These are the people who volunteered to be a Tactical Advisory Committee.David Dettman, MPWMD Frank Emerson, CRSA
Larry Hampson, MPWMD Nikki Nedeff, Consultant
Thomas C. Christensen, MPWMD Bob Costa, Rancho Canada
Danny Maquis, USDA Mike Hill, CDFG
Dawn Reis, Ecological Studies Joyce Ambrosius, NOAA
Geoff Malloway, Central Coast Fly-fishing John McKeon, NOAA
Doug Smith, Ph.D CSUMB Paul Watters, MPWMD
Roger Root, USFWS Monica Hunter, P.C.L
Jessica Griffiths, VWA Susanna Danner, Big Sur LT
Vic Lewis, MRWRA
- AP-4 Prioritizing should not cause actions to be eliminated just because they are not a priority, because a group (organization) might be willing to develop a project.
We agree see AP-2
- AP-5 Cal-Am will help to accomplish work in the Watershed Action Plan.
Not a question this is a statement and the work they have contributed is appreciated by the Council.
- AP-6 Our watershed is in good shape. Cal-Am has been drawing water for years and there is no problem, your action plan looks at small things.
If you look carefully through the action plans there are a few big ones. Yes many small but a collection of many small adds up to a large concern
- AP-7 Cal-Am is a part of the community and developing a plan for more water.
A statement not a question.
- AP-8 Flow is an important issue.
Yes it heads our Action plan
- AP-9 Big land owners take care of the watershed. The problem is in the bottom where wells are sucking the water out of the river. Wells on the bottom are causing the problem.
Everyone that uses water is contributing to the problem.
- AP-10 What about rebates for residential and commercial cisterns, e.g., MPWMD rebate or tax incentive. How do they do this in Antigua for example. Learn from the other communities. Example: Native grasses planted on roofs get green space tax incentive (GAP building, So. San Francisco). Corporations love it due to tax incentives. Rana Creek Ranch is the leading installer of these kinds of roofs.
We have heard this brought up time and time again at MPWMD meetings. If it is doable it merits being an action but would have to be initiated by MPWMD.
- AP-11 Sediment ponds are a listed action, but the MPWMD said I couldn’t do it on my property. I’m a rancher. I’m trying to protect the river and the MPWMD is telling me I can’t get a permit.
MPWMD has no rules or regulations concerning construction of sediment ponds. However, construction of large ponds for surface water detention could constitute a change in water use and might get some scrutiny from MPWMD. This may be what Gerry Paddock was alluding to.
- Los Padres Dam has been averaging 1730 tons/year/sq. mile for 23 years. Need to address where the sediment is coming from. Tularcitos is 18 tons/sq. mile. This needs to be looked at.
Steve Dorrance had this question answered by Doug Smith during an interview with him and his brother Dave. As most of the sediment load between Los Padres dam and San Clemente dam does not as yet impact the Carmel river below San Clemente dam it therefore follows that Tularcitos sediment load at 18 tons per sq. mile is currently impacting the Carmel river.There is no argument on this one if & when the San Clemente dam is retrofitted or decommissioned sediment load monitoring will be necessary ahead of time to determine the impact. See Action plans under sediment category.
- AP-13 Need to quantify what is acceptable for sediment load in the Carmel River. Are we going to try to set levels?
The Regional Water Quality Control Board typically does not focus on setting acceptable levels of bedload and suspended load in a stream, although any work in or along streams usually is conditioned to maintain levels of introduced sediment to as little as is practical.
We are not sure that an “acceptable” sediment load for the river is a practical goal. Sediment loads currently vary by at least an order of magnitude depending on the condition of stream banks (e.g., with or without vegetation) and on conditions in the watershed (e.g., whether there has been a recent fire or significant landslide activity). This is without the “natural” sediment load from the upper watershed.
We do think that reducing manmade sediment sources may be appropriate in some areas. But, we already know that the river is supply-limited and that this has an effect on stream bank stability, so setting a limit that is low could exacerbate that condition. Setting a high limit may not be compatible with maintaining flood elevations at an acceptable level.
At this time, what is clear is that there is a lack of spawning-sized material in the system. Focusing on what types of sediment are missing from the system (rather than on a number for the entire sediment load) may be one way to tackle the question of what is an acceptable limit.
- AP-14 In the case of the rubber dam, would that decrease flow in the river?
As we understand it the rubber dam wall goes up when water runs over the spillway. Flow continues down the spillway on a regulated basis channeled through the rubber dam.
- AP-15 FLOWS-5 calls for a moratorium on development. How long a time period? We need to have a better understanding of the moratorium idea. If we need to add a well this could be a problem.
Certainly agree with this concern if the speaker had sub-divisions etc in mind. Drilling wells for ranch operations is not development activity.
- AP-16 Local wells in the valley are Cal-Am wells that send water out of the district to the aquifer. There is also evaporation. This needs to be considered regarding wells that draw water that stays in the watershed. The Cal-Am wells send water outside the watershed.
That is why MPWMD & Cal-Am are seeking a substitute.
- AP-17 Earlier statement made that both dams are undesirable. I’m not in favor of pulling down the Los Padres Dam.
Nor are some conservationists. Without the LP dam flows in a drought years may dry up below Sleepy Hollow.
- AP-18 Would it be feasible to develop a model where flows are going in terms of Cal-Am’s uses? Would Cal-Am’s uses show up as end users? We think of the watershed at ridge to ridge, but we extend the watershed by pumping and sending water to other areas outside the watershed.
The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District created a computer simulation model called “Carmel Valley Simulation,” or CVSIM, to predict effects on river flows from diversions for municipal supply to the Monterey Peninsula and diversions for private use by registered wells within the MPWMD boundaries. It incorporates measurements of surface runoff from all major tributaries at the confluence with the main stem and in the main stem, flow diversions at San Clemente Dam and at points downstream (i.e., wells), losses due to evapotranspiration, and includes the use of water for municipal supply from Seaside.
The model has rather complex, custom computer routines developed specifically for the Carmel River and Seaside groundwater basin. It takes an expert programmer to make changes in the code to reflect changes in how water is used.
Steelhead (SH) – No comments.
- AP-19 Seems there is a fundamental policy that non-native’s are a problem. That is an assumption that needs to be looked at. Could we find that some non-natives could actually co-habitate? Why should we prefer non-native over native? I don’t recall having that discussion in earlier parts of the process.
This is more to do with NOAA, USFWS & CDFG policy & regulations than scientific study
- AP-20 For HAB-2, in addition to the California Conservation Corps, the fire fighters at Soledad Prison only fight fires during certain times of the year.
Yes thank you for pointing this out.
- AP-21 If we take some of these actions, are we going to increase or decrease populations of species such as California red-legged frog?
The regulations are intended to increase populations
Public Outreach and Education (PUB)
- AP-22 PUB-1 seems to be two action plans combined into one that do not seem to fit together. Can you review that? Please clarify the language.
This tied to CC-4. All we are saying is that volunteer activities need to be centered on the concept of good stewardship.
- AP-23 Add to PUB action plans developing a model of the tributaries and main stem to see how it all works together and what the influence is of different impacts of things like drip irrigation, or the addition of 250 homes. What would the impact be? We need to educate the public about what could happen if everyone were to conserve water.
NOAA has developed models to indicate minimum flow levels. GW-2 Action to plot water budgets may be the solution.
Water Quantity (WQ)
- AP-24 As the watershed is filled from both sides of the ridge – depending on the angle, that’s where the water goes, depending on the geography. So I would like to know how the group came up with the idea of “ridge to ridge.” (Response from another member of the audience) It refers to the Carmel Valley Master Plan. This may not hold up. We should try to define areas along the edge – is this a big thing or a little thing?
A little thing! Water runs down hill.
- AP-25 If big wells are the problem and if this takes place in the upper watershed, and the lower watershed is where the problems are, is this affecting flow? Will there be an action in FLOWS? What are the benefits long term?
Action Flows-1, 2, 5 & 6 speak to the question
Water Quantity (WQ)
- AP-26 What geographic area is defined as upland
Any lands above where you are.
- AP-27 How good a picture do we have of the upper watershed?
We are still in the learning process. Large areas have not been examined as private access is not possible. We hope that down the road land owners will share their information with the Conservancy.
- AP-28 What are the upland bedrock wells? Most of the wells are in the alluvial region. Is Hitchcock Canyon in alluvial or bedrock?
The lower Hitchcock is alluvial. Have not had access to the upper part.
- AP-29 We are seeing the lowest water flows we’ve ever seen, is it drought years?
No 2004 was a normal water year.
Public Safety (PS)
- AP-30 PS-1, concerns valley development on the flood plain. Isn’t that like saying to Camp Stephanie, “Get of here so we don’t have to dig you out when the dam breaks?” In terms of exposure, NOAA has determined that Camp Stephanie is the most exposed in the event of a flood. To try to get flood plain homes into compliance is absurd. If PS-1 is in there, it would be more honest to say mud flow hazard is fairly limited. The way it reads seems dishonest and doesn’t reflect narrow impacts.
If you look at the question & the proposed Action openly it is intended to discourage people from developing more homes in the 100 year plain.
- AP-31 The differences between PS-1 and PS-2 are blurry. Please clarify.
It is not blurry; one is to discourage dams because of seismic conditions. The other refers to 100 year flood plain.
General Comments at the close of the meeting:
- AP-32 The Carmel River Steelhead Association was hoping to have two action plans suggested – one for property rights and one for Lagoon management. Can these be renewed by the TAC?
Lagoon action is in CC14. Property rights were discussed in the presentation and will be part of the record. The Public Doctrine.
- AP-33 The Watershed Action Plan document is not perfect, but there would no document without the efforts of Clive Sanders [of the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy]. He has done the lion’s share of the work and I commend his work.
- AP-34 There will be major changes on our perspective as things change in the watershed, e.g., Cal-Am’s water project and the dam retrofit project. These would have a big impact, is there a mechanism to review or revise the Watershed Action Plan?
Yes, the action plan may be re-opened once a decision on San Clemente is approved by the people. The good news is BSLT is currently sponsoring a community-based planning process for habitat restoration, trails and visitor services at the mouth of Carmel Valley. This Vision Plan, scheduled for completion in summer of 2005, will provide a master plan for a potential trails network for various uses, including hiking and biking.
- The houses in the Lagoon also would PS-1 say that those homes should go?
PS-1 is related to using large dams.
- AP-36 Should actions be re-worded to reflect the 100-year flood regulations for development in the county?
We do not think it is necessary. See AP-37
- AP-37 Two concepts are running together that aren’t actually related: the dam break region vs. the 100-year flood plain. These are two different things.
- AP-38 I am a landowner in the upper watershed and the creek on my property is the lowest it’s ever been and there are no wells above my property, so it must be due to the drought.
If you are sure that you have no wells above you, than perhaps one should ask how much over-drafting is taken place below you if this is a recent event.
Need to know where it is situated and if it is on the eastern side. Most of our discussions and concerns in action plans refer to the western side where rainfall is the heaviest. We know that many creeks in the higher areas on the eastern side have not run to the Carmel Valley road & into Tularcitos creek. Chupines was running in August into Tularcitos creek. The source of flow could be upland seepage or irrigation run-off.
- AP-39 I would like to know who is on the Technical Advisory Committee. I attended one meeting in the beginning, but was not asked to return.
This was a comment from a stakeholder representative of the Ranchers Group and director of the Conservancy. He may be referring to attending a TAC meeting. According to the original list of TAC members his name is absent. He did not ask to participate in the current TAC.
- AP-40 Cal-Am (California American Water) is pumping 10m gal/day in the lower basin. This is cheap water. The Desalination plan is expensive so they will continue to draw from wells because it is cheap. They are selling that water so that won’t change.
Cal-Am has a water right of some 3376 acre feet from the Carmel River so of course they will be using Carmel river water, how else would the people of the valley get their supply.