California American Water (CAW), the State Coastal Conservancy (SCC) and California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the project owners, cooperatively removed the San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River, Monterey County, California.  San Clemente Dam was 106 feet tall and constructed in 1921.  After more than 10 years of alternatives analysis, dam removal was selected as the preferred project alternative to greatly improve fish passage conditions for the Federally-, and State-listed steelhead, and to address serious dam stability conditions.  The dam removal project involved re-locating the Carmel River into the San Clemente Creek drainage and constructing a new combined channel downstream to the dam location.

In conjunction with URS/AECOM and Inter-fluve, Inc., Balance Hydrologics completed the preliminary feasibility analysis of constructing a new channel which combined Carmel River and San Clemente Creek to convey flow and sediment past the dam.  Balance Hydrologics was asked to join the design team because of our unique expertise researching and using step-pools to renaturalize streams throughout California, Nevada, and Oregon.

Over the course of two years Balance Hydrologics and Inter∙fluve used field analogs in the watershed to develop an indicative channel design for the project.  The indicative channel design forms part of the basis for the contract documents for the dam removal.

During the dam removal and channel construction phases Balance was retained as the owner’s representative. Our duties included review of all design submittals developed by the Granite Construction team, field inspections of channel construction, development of risk assessment and contingency planning for unforeseen construction circumstances and representing the interest and expectations of the permitting agencies and owner’s team throughout the duration of construction.