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Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project

About the project
The Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project (download project fact sheet) is located within the City of Milpitas. The project’s study limit extends approximately one mile from the north at its confluence with Coyote Creek to the south at San Andreas Drive.

The one mile study limit is indicated on the map to the right. This area of creek receives some of its water from Berryessa Creek. Construction has begun on improvements to Berryessa Creek that will bring more creek flows into this one mile stretch of creek. Lower Penitencia Creek must be able to carry this increased flow.

In its current condition, Lower Penitencia Creek does not have the capacity to convey the increased flow (the future one-percent flood event - also known as the 100 year event*). This project is necessary to maintain the current existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accreditation along the east levee located between California Circle and Berryessa Creek. At the completion of the project improvements for the Lower Penitencia and Berryessa Creek Projects, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will work with the city of Milpitas to update the FEMA flood insurance maps accordingly.

Overall project objectives are to: 
  • Convey the Lower Berryessa Creek 1 percent design flow
  • Minimize the need for seasonal removal of sediment and non-woody vegetation
  • Maintain existing FEMA accreditation along the east levee between California Circle and Berryessa Creek
  • Ensure the improvements meet FEMA certification requirements

*A 100-year flood, sometimes called a one-percent flood event, is a rare and large storm event which has a 1-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year.

The latest:

  • On March 10, 2015, the water district board of directors awarded a consultant agreement to Horizon Water and Environmental to develop the Environmental Impact Report for the Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project.
  • The water district board of directors awarded a consultant agreement in May 2016 to Wood Rodgers to perform project design services.
  • Prepared technical studies analyzing project impacts to aesthetics, biological resources, cultural resources, noise and traffic.
  • Conducted a design level geotechnical investigation in 2016. 
  • Prepared 60% design plans, specifications, and cost estimate (PS&E) in April 2017. 
  • Prepared for release of Draft Environmental Impact Report for public review in May 2017.

Lower Pen map thumbnail
(click to enlarge)

Project information

Project start

Project finish2019
Total Cost$17-32 million
StatusDesign phase

For more information:

  • Contact Engineering Unit Manager Rechelle Blank at (408) 630-2615 or by email.

For more information: