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Water district and partners seek feedback for San Francisquito Creek flood protection project

Contact: Marty Grimes
Office: 408-630-2881
Mobile: 408-681-9265

Jan. 19, 2016 

SAN JOSE—The Santa Clara Valley Water District and partners from the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority (SFCJPA) will be hosting a series of meetings during the month of January to solicit community feedback that will be instrumental to evaluating design alternatives for the San Francisquito Creek Flood Protection Project upstream of Highway 101.

The SFCJPA will collect community feedback on the project elements it will evaluate in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) being developed this year. Project partners will use public input to assess environmental issues of concern and narrow down analysis on alternatives for this section of the project that will provide flood protection and ecosystem restoration.

The project concept was first presented to the community in May 2013, after which the SFCJPA incorporated previous community input and analysis leading to five current alternatives:

  • No action on this section of the creek (required alternative)
  • Modifying Pope-Chaucer Bridge and widening creek channel sections
  • Constructing one more upstream detention basins
  • Constructing an underground bypass culvert
  • Constructing floodwalls along the channel

Flowing along U.S. Highway 101 and across two counties and the cities of Palo Alto, East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, San Francisquito Creek has an extensive history of flooding. The most notable incident was in 1998 when El Niño winter storms damaged approximately 1,700 homes and businesses in the area, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in damages.

In June 2016, the SFCJPA began construction on the first phase of the San Francisquito Creek Project between the bay and Highway 101 along Palo Alto and East Palo Alto. When completed, along with the section upstream of Highway 101, the project will protect more than 5,700 homes and businesses.

The project is a partnership between multiple agencies including Santa Clara Valley Water District, SFCJPA, San Mateo County Flood Control District and cities of East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Palo Alto, and Caltrans. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers may provide funding for construction of the project for the future and is preparing a similar federal document, an Environmental Impact Statement, for the upstream section of the project.

The official Draft EIR notice is available for review at Three meetings have been scheduled for the public to provide input. The first one, on Jan. 18, was attended by about 60 residents. Two more meetings are scheduled:

  • January 26, 2017 at 7 p.m. East Palo Alto City Hall Community Room, 2415 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, CA
  • January 31, 2017 at 7 p.m. Palo Alto Art Center Auditorium, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA

The community can also submit input by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 to:

Kevin Murray, Senior Project Manager
San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority
615-B Menlo Avenue, Menlo Park, CA 94025

The Santa Clara Valley Water District, with a history dating back to 1929, manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County’s 1.9 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, and nearly 400 acres of groundwater recharge ponds, providing wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water to homes and businesses. The water district is the flood control agency for Santa Clara County, annually preparing creeks for winter rains through levee maintenance, sediment removal, bank repair and vegetation management. We have invested more than $1 billion in flood protection efforts to protect nearly 100,000 parcels with many more projects planned.