CRSA has always believed that with the Carmel River so degraded we must help steelhead recover by rearing rescued fish. Before steelhead were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and before the creation of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District (MPWMD), CRSA took on the project of raising rescued steelhead from fingerlings to smolt and then releasing the smolts back to the river the following year. In the case of the Captive Broodstock Program, we raised smolts to adults, spawned the adults, and returned both the adults and their offspring to the river. Both of these programs greatly benefited the steelhead population on the Carmel River and CRSA still believes these programs must continue.
Because Cal Am is considered to be responsible for drying the river each year, they must pay to mitigate for the loss of the fish displaced or killed by drying the river. At this time they are paying MPWMD to rear the fish MPWMD rescues from the main stem of the river. While CRSA believes the MPWMD project could be improved, it is a start and it must be helping.
What no agency that issues permits for handling steelhead is willing to do now is issue a permit for raising smolts to adults to supplement the declining runs we have today. CRSA continues to lobby for a solution to supplement these current critically low runs.