Carmel River aquatic life gets a hand

Improving shelter for steelhead in Carmel River

CARMEL, Calif. - Those near the mouth of the Carmel River Wednesday may have seen something a little odd.

But no need to worry about the large helicopter dropping three-ton boulders into the Carmel River.
It was just one of the many steps the Carmel River Steelhead Association is taking to try to help grow and protect local Steelhead fish and other aquatic life. The association has teamed up with several organizations from around the state to build eleven underwater habitats for the river's occupants.
The makeshift habitats are being placed in planned areas spanning from the river's mouth to about a mile upstream, and should make a positive difference for local aquatic life as their numbers have dwindled over the past several decades.

"Historically, people believe that the Carmel River could have 20 to 24-thousand fish with an annual run of fish in the Carmel River. We haven't had over a thousand fish in decades. So we have one-twentieth of the fish we used to have," said President of the Carmel River Steelhead Association, Brian Leneve.

Steelhead and other fish and wildlife have declined so drastically because of a combination of predation and pumping too much water from the Carmel River. This phase involving dropping boulders and logs should be done by Friday. The entire restoration project will take an unknown amount of time, but as the Carmel River Steelhead Association told us, "Restoration is not a sprint, it's a marathon."

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