In 2008 CRSA completed a refurbishing of the old Odello well and pipeline. For four years that project provided approximately 500 gallons of fresh cool water per minute into the lagoon 24-hours a day in summer to benefit steelhead. In 2012 the motor for the well quit and we replaced it with a $6,000.00 new motor. When the new motor was turned on it was discovered the well casing leaked. It’s probable that water squirting from the leak is what caused the old pump to short and burn out.
Fixing the leak in the casing was going to be an expensive repair and paying the electric bill to run the pump 24-hours a day for six to seven months is also expensive. CRSA decided to apply for a grant to repair the well casing, pay for electricity for five years and test the effectiveness of the fresh cold water on steelhead. The reason for the five-year grant is because Cal Am is scheduled to have a new water source in five years. When the new water supply is complete Cal Am will only pump its legal amount of water and hopefully only in the winter thus keeping the river running in the summer.
CRSA applied for a grant of just over $98,000.00 from the California Coastal Conservancy and was told the grant would be approved. (The money for the grant is funds transferred from a settlement agreement between Cal Am and NMFS to the Coastal Conservancy to administer.)
Because CRSA participates in the Carmel River Task Force we learned that the well we were planning to repair would have to be moved because it is in the path of the Big Sur Land Trust’s Causeway project. Big Sur Land Trust would be responsible for moving the well because of their impacts to the well, but they are not funded yet so they cannot move the well.
In the opinion of CRSA, it is foolish to spend $25,000.00 of our grant to repair a well that will be moved in a short period of time. We are now in the process of finding funds to move the well as soon as possible.
Hopefully the financing will be worked out and the fish will receive the benefit of cool fresh water when the river ceases to run each summer and the lagoon begins to shrink.