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San Luis Rey Watershed Assessment

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San Luis Rey Profile 560 Square miles; 342 below Henshaw Dam; Third largest watershed in San Diego County; 242 tributaries adding up to 759 miles of perennial and ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: San Luis Rey Watershed Assessment


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San Luis Rey Profile
  • 560 Square miles 342 below Henshaw Dam
  • Third largest watershed in San Diego County
  • 242 tributaries adding up to 759 miles of
    perennial and intermittent stream
  • Primary land uses agriculture, urban, tribal
    lands and some recreation.

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Assessment Questions
  • History / status of steelhead trout populations
  • The condition of natural watershed and stream
    processes
  • Land use impacts on these processes
  • Steelhead trout habitat conditions
  • Conditions limiting steelhead (LFA)
  • Recommendations for improvement activities

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Conditions Encountered
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Barriers
Poor Water Quality
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Non-Native Plants (Arundo donax)
Homeless Encampments
Exotic Fish Species and Anaerobic Conditions
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Southern California Coast Steelhead (adult) in
SLR River, May, 2007
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Fish History and Status
  • Documented and anecdotal accounts report of
    steelhead runs in the SLR River and tributaries
  • Prior to May 2007 observation, last sighting in
    1997
  • Pauma Creek - A healthy population of native
    rainbow trout. Genetic sampling performed in
    (1999) concluded that it seems more than likely
    that these fish are part of a native coastal O.
    mykiss lineage.
  • WF San Luis Rey River contains resident native
    trout.

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Areas Surveyed
  • San Luis Rey River
  • 35 miles (18 miles in Coastal Subbasin 12 miles
    in Southern Subbasin and 5 miles in Middle
    Subbasin)
  • Tributaries surveyed
  • Pauma Creek 3 reaches covering approximately
    1.2 miles, located in the upper, middle and lower
    middle sections of the creek
  • Keys Creek approximately 2 ½ miles in the lower
    reach of the creek
  • Small reaches (less than 1000 feet) of Ostrich
    Creek, Gopher Creek, Live Oak Creek, Gomez
    Creek, Wigham Creek, and Prisoner Creek.

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Current Habitat Conditions
  • Stream Flow
  • The Basin is not hydrologically connected
  • Stream flows in tributaries have been reduced
    through extraction for anthropogenic use
  • Dry or intermittent reaches prevent connectivity
    with the estuary and thus the ocean.

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Current Habitat Conditions cont.
  • Water Quality
  • Total Dissolve Solids and fecal coliform are
    constituents of concern, particularly in the
    Coastal Subbasin (Weston Solution 2007)
  • Stream bioassessments performed in 2005 2006.
  • SLR River urban sites had Index of
    Biotic Ratings of Very
  • Poor
  • Reference site was the highest rated
    site in the county
  • program (Weston Solutions 2007)
  • The SLR estuarys health was assessed at poor to
    fair
  • 2005 Ambient Bay and Lagoon Monitoring Program
    (Weston Solutions 2007), the SLR River estuary
    scored good for toxicology, fair for biology and
    good for chemistry.

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Coastal Subbasin
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SLR River
Coastal Subbasin
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Middle Subbasin
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SLR River
Middle Subbasin
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Northern Subbasin
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Pauma Creek
Gomez Creek
Northern Subbasin
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a
SLR River Wilderness Gardens Co. Park
Summer
SLR River - Southern Subbasin
Spring
Winter
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Instream Habitat Conditions
  • Spawning Gravels
  • Limited areas containing suitable spawning
    gravels in mainstem
  • Spawning gravels more abundant in Pauma Creek and
    most likely in other tributaries in the Northern
    Subbasin including Gomez Creek, Agua Tibia
    Creek, Frey Creek and Pala Creek
  • Canopy Coverage
  • majority of the mainstem reaches and tributary
    reaches (70) met or nearly met the 80 target
    value

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Instream Habitat Conditions cont.
  • Pools
  • Quality pool structure is generally lacking in
    mainstem throughout the basin
  • Pool Depth - only one reach surveyed met
    standards for pool depth
  • Pool Shelter lacking throughout surveyed areas.

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Habitat Summary
  • Northern Subbasins
  • - Best habitat in the watershed but mostly
    inaccessible
  • Middle Subbasin
  • -Potential habitat but also inaccessible
  • Coastal Subbasin
  • -habitat restoration could provide critical
    instream and estuarine rearing habitat
  • Southern Subbasin
  • - Little to no flow therefore no habitat.
    Little habitat potential
  • Upper Subbasin
  • - Inaccessible but contains some trout habitat

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Factors Limiting Steelhead Recovery
  • Lack of hydrologic connectivity and inadequate
    stream flows in the mainstem and tributaries
  • Presence of temporal and/or complete barriers on
    the mainstem and important tributaries
  • Loss of estuarine habitat
  • High levels of fine sediments in the mainstem and
    tributaries, thus, limited areas of suitable
    spawning gravels
  • Displacement of native riparian vegetation with
    exotic vegetation
  • Competition with warm water gamefish, crayfish,
    and bullfrogs

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Barriers to Fish Passage
Pauma Creek
Oceanside
Escondido Canal Diversion Dam
Southern Subbasin
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SLR River Estuary - Past
1932
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Present
SLR River Estuary
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Non-Native Species
Mosquito fish
Bluegill
Largemouth bass
Crayfish
Green sunfish
Black bullhead
Bullfrog
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Why Restore Steelhead?
  • Steelheads high genetic diversity and their
    remarkable capacity to persist in unfavorable
    environments
  • Indicator of good water quality
  • Interconnection between steelhead and
    riverine/riparian areas in southern California
  • The bigger picture.

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Native Species
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Basin ScaleKey Recommendations
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Flow and Water Quality Improvement Activities
  • Determine proper seasonal flow releases through
    Henshaw Dam and Escondido Canal Diversion
  • Flushing flows would allow natural hydrologic
    processes occur creating and improving instream
    and riverine habitat
  • Enforce maximum irrigation efficiency with both
    agricultural and urban users
  • Identify potential pollution sources and address
    problematic areas
  • Establish conservation easements, particularily
    along or near riverine habitats.

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Fish Passage
  • Work with public agencies to modify existing fish
    passage barriers on the SLR River and key
    tributaries
  • Meet with private landowners to discuss
    modifying/removing barriers located on their
    property

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Riparian and Instream Habitat Improvement
Activities
  • Continue eradication of Arundo, Tamarisk, and
    other invasive plant species
  • Combine natural physical processes, i.e. flood
    dynamics, and riparian revegetation projects for
    the recovery of native natural communities and
    species
  • Prioritize locations within the estuary where
    vegetation can be returned to salt tolerant
    species.

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Erosion and Sediment Delivery Reduction Activities
  • Continue to encourage the use of Best Management
    Practices for nutrient runoff, pesticide
    management, and erosion control for homeowners
    and agricultural and industrial uses
  • Existing sediment production problem sites that
    have potential to deliver sediments to streams
    should be evaluated and mitigated.

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Education, Research, and Monitoring Activities
  • Continue to build upon current educational
    outreach to the community concerning the
    elimination of exotic flora and fauna
  • Promote water conservation throughout the
    watershed
  • Efforts to examine water quality have been
    ongoing and should continue throughout the
    watershed
  • Perform water quality, water chemistry, and
    biological studies in the estuary
  • Conduct instream and fish inventories on streams
    of the Northern Subbasin Gomez, Aqua Tibia,
    Frey, and Pala Creeks

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The End
  • Coastal Watershed Planning and Assessment Program
    website

http//coastalwatersheds.ca.gov/
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