print Font Size: small font medium font large font

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 update the FEMA flood insurance maps accordingly.

Overall project objectives are to: 
  • Complete improvements to carry the new one-percent* flow coming from the Upper Berryessa Creek Project
  • Minimize maintenance requirements
  • Minimize existing habitat impacts
  • Minimize impacts to existing trails
  • Obtain FEMA certification of the improvements

*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:

  • The project team analyzed a range of alternatives and selected the staff-recommended alternative. The document can be viewed by clicking here. Currently, the Planning Study Report is in progress and the design phase will begin in March 2016.

  • 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 held a community meeting on June 5, 2014 at the Barbara Lee Senior Center in Milpitas to present potential project alternatives. Watch video footage of the meeting by clicking on the link at the bottom of this page.

    Download the meeting invitation [PDF]
    Powerpoint presentation [PDF]
    Responses to questions raised at June 2014 community meeting [PDF]

Lower Pen map thumbnail
(click to enlarge)

Project information

Project start

Project finish 2018
Total Cost $17-32 million
Status Planning phase

For more information:

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

For more information: