The Los Padres Dam has been a known fish passage impediment for both upstream and downstream migrating South-Central California Coast steelhead as well as impacting the downstream habitat by blocking the natural sediment supply. S-CCC steelhead were listed as a threatened species under the ESA by the National Marine Fisheries Service in 1997. Most of the streams in the Carmel River watershed have been designated as critical habitat for S-CCC steelhead. Due to the presence of diversions and water supply facilities along the Carmel River by CA American Water, as a first step towards protecting S-CCC steelhead, NMFS strongly encouraged Cal-Am in 2013 to resolve the fish passage and other potential take issues at LPD. In January 2018, NMFS and Cal-Am signed a Memo of Agreement that included a requirement that Cal-Am carry out gravel augmentation at Los Padres Dam to improve steelhead spawning habitat downstream of the dam.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Central Region 4 (CDFW), California Department of Parks and Recreation, California Department of Transportation, District 5 (DOT), California Native American Heritage Commission (NAHC), California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Coast Region 3 (RWQCB), Department of Water Resources, Resources Agency, State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights
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