Carmel River Lagoon Enhancement Project

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California's lower Carmel River Lagoon was once home to a premier steelhead run. When the area was filled to create new agricultural land, the Lagoon suffered an extensive loss of open water and wetland habitat. The State of California funded a project to restore this important resource.

ESA prepared design plans and specifications for the restoration of a 100-acre agricultural parcel adjacent to the remaining Lagoon. The design expands the Lagoon to provide a summer rearing habitat and winter refuge for steelhead. Removing the levee and lowering an existing roadway reconnects the natural floodplain to the Lagoon, promoting the geomorphic evolution of the site. Earlier planning work included the development of conceptual alternatives that were evaluated using geomorphic assessment and two-dimensional hydraulic modeling.

Our team developed a companion restoration plan for a 90-acre upstream site that promotes the regeneration of riparian habitat by removing levees and using site grading to reconnect the channel with the floodplain. Combined with the 100-acre downstream restoration project, this design will restore habitats and improve flood conveyance along two miles of the lower Carmel River and Lagoon.

ESA worked with the California Department of State Parks and Recreation, the California Coastal Conservancy, and other project stakeholders to reach consensus on the final implementation strategy for the site. We further assisted the selected contractor with bidding and construction observation.

Specialized Services

  • Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling