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Almaden Lake Project

egret on Almaden LakeThe Almaden Lake Improvement Project is a Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Priority D Project. The project is a creek/lake separation project intended to improve access to spawning and rearing habitat within the Guadalupe Watershed by removing an artificial in-stream impoundment resulting from the co-mingling of Alamitos Creek with Almaden Lake.

This project will restore the Alamitos Creek channel section and its connectivity to the Guadalupe River within the footprint of Almaden Lake. Restoring Almaitos Creek will improve sediment transport and restore its natural creek functions by developing a stable geomorphic channel dimension, pattern and profile. The project will help restore and maintain healthy steelhead trout populations by improving fish habitat and passage through the lake's footprint.

The project will also address the lake's mercury related water quality issues by capping existing elemental mercury in the separated lake and continuing the effective source control measures to control further methylmercury production and bioaccumulation to the meet the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board site-specific mercury water quality objectives in the 2008 Basin Plan Amendment.

Project objectives

  • Separate Alamitos Creek from Almaden Lake
  • Reduce the thermal barrier to migration of anadromous fish
  • Remove entrainment, incidental trapping of fish and impacts from predatory species to anadromous fish
  • Reduce mercury concentration in target fish to meet applicable water quality objectives
  • Minimize impacts to recreational features

The latest as of July 2016

Between 2012 and 2014, the water district developed the project's Problem Definition Report and seven conceptual alternatives to address that issue. To support this effort, the district launched a blog to help the community understand the project's purpose of the project while helping the project team identify one or more preferred alternatives. In 2014, the district identified two such options billed as Alternative 6 and Alternative 7, which can be viewed by clicking on the PDFs to the right of the page. That same year, the team hired an environmental consultant to prepare the project's environmental document for the alternatives, which both call for separating Alamitos Creek from Almaden Lake within the current footprint of the existing water body.

During this environmental document developing phase, the district is updating the project blog and will re-launch it during the project's design phase. Please use Access Valley Water during this period to submit questions, complaints or compliments directly from your computer to a water district staff person who can help you. Click on the "Projects planned for my neighborhood" tab and select "Almaden Lake Project."

 The goals of separating the creek from the lake are to restore Alamitos Creek's historic stream function. The restored creek section will be designed to be a stable geomorphic channel that will be self-sustaining and will not agrrade or degrade. This will establish a channel that would require very little maintenance to keep it viable for fisheries and wildlife benefits. 

Separating the creek from the lake will improve water quality and physical habitat for steelhead trout and other aquatic species. Creek habitat will be created adjacent to the restored stream channel that will provide numerous ancillary wildlife benefits. Separating the creek from the lake will reduce high water temperatures released from the lake into the creek and entrainment, predatory and methylmercury impacts to anadromous fish that currently exist from the comingled water body.

 Contacts:

Project Manager Rechelle Blank at 408-630-2615
Associate Engineer James Ujah at 408-630-3014
Neighborhood liaison Tony Mercado at 408-630-2342