The Los Padres Dam and the San Clemente Dam trap water used by the California American Water Company (Cal-Am) for the Carmel area. The Carmel River arm of the reservoir is almost completely filled in with sediment, and storage capacity behind the San Clemente Dam has been reduced from approximately 1,575 acre-feet when the dam was constructed in 1921 to its current volume of approximately 140 acre-feet. As a result of pressure on the aging structure, the Department of Water Resources, Division of Dam Safety may occur due to dam failure caused by an earthquake. Drawdown occurs once the reservoir capacity exceeds 50 acre-feet and streamflow is equal to or less than 30 cfs as measured at the Sleepy Hollow gauge station. The reservoir would be lowered under one of three scenarios: Scenario A would lower the reservoir by discharging water through drawdown ports to an elevation of approximately 515 feet. Scenario B would lower the water through a stovepipe to an elevation of approximately 519 feet. Scenario C would keep the drawdown ports closed so that discharge to the Carmel River would be reduced by no more than 1 to 2 cfs per day until the reservoir elevation reaches approximately 519 feet. Measures to protect southern steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss irideus) and California red-legged frogs (Rana aurora draytonii) would be incorporated into the project, including capture and relocation of both species from the project site.
Fish and Game Code Sections 5930 and 5931 require implementation of fishways to provide for free passage of fish over and beyond dams on streams and/or rivers that are naturally frequented by fish. DSOD estimates that a final EIR/EIS for the Seismic Safety Project for the San Clemente Dam will be ready for approval by Fall 2006. This agreement would require the Operator to either develop a plan subject to DFG approval that provides for passage or transport of all adult steelhead over San Clemente Dam for the drawdown operations ordered by DSOD conducted during the adult steelhead migratory season beginning in 2006, or provide detailed basis of design plans to the Department for construction and implementation of a fishway, and would require the installation of such a fishway before any drawdown activities occur in 2006. Issuance of a Streambed Alteration Agreement Number 1600-2005-0251-3 is pursuant to Fish and Game Code Section 1602.
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