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About the project

Every winter, thousands of households, schools and businesses in San Jose are susceptible to the damages of flooding from Lower Silver Creek during a major storm event. Lower Silver Creek drains a large area of east San Jose into Coyote Creek, which flows northward to San Francisco Bay. Over the past 50 years, Lower Silver Creek has experienced severe flooding that resulted in damage to residential, commercial and industrial properties, as well as erosion of the creek’s banks and levees. Disruption to businesses and transportation networks can result in significant loss of productivity and revenue.

In 2002, the Santa Clara Valley Water District, in partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) initiated design and construction of a flood protection project along 4.4 miles of the creek, from its confluence at Coyote Creek to Cunningham Avenue, near Lake Cunningham Park. The water district and NRCS completed the flood protection improvements for Reaches one to three in 2006. Although designs were nearly complete for Reaches four to six at that time, the project was put on hold due to funding limitations. Some parcels were removed from the flood hazard area because of the completion of Reaches one to three; removal of all parcels in the Lower Silver Creek watershed can only be accomplished by the completion of flood protection improvements through Lake Cunningham Park.

In addition to providing protection from the damages of floods, the completed project would also provide enhanced habitat and vegetation along the creek, new recreational amenities for the neighborhood, including pedestrian bridges and opportunities for new trails.


FEMA floodplain information (Coyote Creek to I-680, reaches 1 through 3):  

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is in the process of completing an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to request a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR), which will lift the flood insurance requirement for those properties which are now out of the 1% flood hazard area. Approximately 300 homes will be removed from the flood area because of the flood protection improvements recently constructed in Reaches 1, 2 and 3, between Coyote Creek and Interstate 680. It is anticipated the LOMR application will be submitted to FEMA in December 2008.

The floodplain analysis required by FEMA determined that approximately 450 properties will remain in the existing floodplain until Reaches 4 to 6 and Lake Cunningham improvements are constructed. These homes will remain in the flood hazard area due to floodwaters overtopping the creek upstream of Interstate 680, travelling overland, and crossing underneath the freeway at the Jackson Avenue and Capitol Avenue undercrossing. These floodwaters are not captured by the Reaches 1 to 3 improvements and continue to flood many of the floodplain mapped areas.

Below is the list of documentations that property owners would have received from the City of San Jose and the water district regarding revisions to FEMA flood maps:

Dobern Bridge Construction (2006)

Part of the Lower Silver Creek Project Reach 4 was completed in 2006.  The Dobern neighborhood dedicated a new pedestrian bridge over the creek on January 14, 2006.   This joint project with the City of San José joined the Dobern Neighborhood with the Capitol/Goss Neighborhood. 

Dobern Bridge dedication invite

Dobern Bridge dedication program

Dobern Construction mtg. notice

Plata Arroyo Skate Park (2005)

The construction of the Santa Clara Valley Water District flood protection project (Lower Silver Creek - reach three) presented the opportunity for the City of San José Parks Dept. to develop a new skateboard area at Plata Arroyo Park.  This new recreational amenity was opened in january 2005.

Plata Arroyo Skatepark opening

Plata Arroyo Skatepark fact sheet