Skip to main content

Instream Flow Study


The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has developed an Instream Flow Program (IFP) to support assessments of California’s rivers and creeks for ecological flow needs. The IFP generates flow recommendations to protect fish and wildlife while sustaining aquatic and riparian ecosystems. Flow criteria can be refined for regional needs for water management planning which have to balance existing uses with the protection of the watershed’s resources. Instream flows are the water levels needed to protect habitat connectivity which sustains wildlife ecosystems. The IFP is designed to standardize data collection procedures. CDFW IFP has chosen steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) as the focus species for instream flow criteria.

The Cambria Community Services District (CCSD) has developed this Instream Flow Study Plan (Plan) based on CDFW IFP guidance to analyze flow criteria for the lower San Simeon Creek watershed. Steelhead populations will be a primary focus; however, all sensitive species and habitats within the lower basin watershed will be included in this Plan.

Study Goals and Objectives

This Plan outlines the methods and objectives for two related tasks. Task 1, Instream Flow Study Plan – Lower San Simeon Creek, will identify flows needed for sensitive species or habitats in lower San Simeon Creek. Task 1 will not address previously approved CCSD water budgets. Task 1 will result in a comprehensive overview of lower San Simeon Creek including historical ecological characteristics and current species and habitats, and the effect of CCSD operations within the watershed. Task 1 will be a multi-year study with field assessments and overview by a technical advisory committee (TAC). The CCSD is proposing this study to be a collaborative, inter-agency effort with regional stakeholders. 

Task 2, Instream Flow Study Plan – WRF Project Evaluation, will evaluate potential environmental impacts from proposed WRF project operations and will be completed by CCSD contract biologists and hydrogeologists. Task 2 is modeled after and will further inform the CCSD’s Adaptive Management Program (AMP) for the WRF.  Task 2 will consist of field surveys related to habitat conditions and groundwater modeling of potential WRF operation impacts. Task 2 will  asist the CCSD in obtaining operational permits for the WRF. Task 2 results will also be incorporated into the AMP to ensure ongoing environmental monitoring and reporting under that program is properly focused and efficacious.

Task 1 Documents

San Simeon Instream Flow Study (Draft) - As of 02/21/2022

Task 2 Documents

WRF: Potential Impacts of Project Operation on Pools and Flow in San Simeon Creek and Lagoon  

Adaptive Management Plan

Cambria WRF AMP -  July 2017Cambria WRF AMP Appendices - July 2017

AMP Annual Reports

2022 CCSD AMP Annual Report (Draft)2021 CCSD AMP Annual Report2020 CCSD AMP Annual Report


Join our mailing list