Carmel Valley: Mesa board supports California Trout agency in fish, water conservation

By Suzanne Evans


“Native fish in waterways are a symbol of what is good or bad in the environment, such as air input, timber cutting, etc., so protecting our waterways and water quality is a big deal for us,” said Nika Knite, Southern California regional manager for California Trout, in a March 10 presentation to the Del Mar Mesa Community Planning Board as she sought its help to protect the dwindling trout population.

Knite said there are now only 150 total trout, where there used to be 150,000. Southern California steelhead trout are like salmon and swim back up into the mountains to spawn. “We need to bring fish populations back. They cannot move freely because there are barriers. We need to take out the barriers, keep water in streams, and replant destroyed areas.”

Knite, who works closely with the Sierra Club and the Audubon Society, sought the board’s help to “reinvigorate” the program’s work in Southern California by reaching out to the Del Mar Mesa community to emphasize the value of water conservation and watersheds. She said although homeowners’ water usage shows a modest decline, she hopes the Del Mar Mesa community can “apply elbow grease” to spur efforts to analyze household water usage and landscaping, encourage the use of sprinkler (rain) sensors and control erosion to protect the watershed.

Scenes of strawberries dying on vines because plastic tarps over them prevent water from reaching them are one example of water not getting to its destination. Chair Gary Levitt also highlighted water wasted on sprinklers that are not supposed to be located near trails and appointed board member Preston Drake to contact the community about conservation.

Board member and Los Penasquitos Citizens Advisory Committee chair Marvin Gerst immediately offered the CAC’s help, which “would be very interested in working with you.” The CAC has worked extensively on a recent resource management plan to protect the Carmel Mountain and Del Mar Mesa preserves.


Vice chair Elizabeth Rabbit, and board members Jim Bessemer and Preston Drake, were elected as “At Large Residential Representatives.” Paul Metcalf was elected to the “Small Developer” seat.

Maintenance Assessment District board member Paul Metcalf said a contract has been signed with John Eardensohn of Latitude Engineering for a study on Mesa’s need for trail maintenance and future park upgrades, as well as common area landscaping and maintenance. Still to be worked out is the best way to reach community members for their input and also determine the depth of details needed before contacting them. Board members may be assigned specific areas to contact for homeowner input on MAD needs. A subcommittee will meet in March to plan strategy and assign areas of HOA contact.



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