Restoring an endangered river

The Conservancy conducted the first assessment of the Carmel River watershed in 2004-5, out of which came an Action Plan to restore the river and watershed.  This Assessment and Action Plan were updated in 2015-16.
Background: In March, 1999, the Carmel River was listed as one of North America’s 10 most endangered rivers of 1999 by the group American Rivers. The nomination was based upon threats to the river that include over-pumping, non-point source pollution, continued development in the floodplain, the proposed development of a new dam on the river, and the need for greater public awareness of issues affecting the river. The Carmel River is part of the South Central Steelhead Trout (SH), “Oncorhynchus mykiss” Evolutionary Significant Unit (ESU) and has historically supported a run of now federally listed steelhead.

Assessment: In 2001 CRWC filed an application with California State Water Control Board (CSWRCB) for a grant to conduct a Watershed Assessment and to develop an Action Plan for the Carmel River Watershed. In August 2002 the grant in the form of a contract between CSWRCB & CRWC for $198,200 was signed. The purpose of this Assessment was to provide a Carmel River Watershed Management Plan in which specific water quality goals are defined through the planning process and implementation of management measures to achieve those goals was to be the outcome of the Plan.

CRWC was especially interested in improving conditions for the steelhead population that spawn in the watershed if winter flows are sufficient to breach sand berm at the mouth of the river. Stakeholders also identified a need for education about resource issues in the watershed, and for better communication with and between resource agencies.