The project is located in the central portion of the Coyote Watershed and extends approximately 9 miles between Montague Expressway and Tully Road in San José.
Preferred project: A federal-state-local partnership
The primary project objective is to reduce the risk of flooding to homes, schools, businesses, and highways in the Coyote Creek floodplain for floods up to the level of flooding that occurred on Feb. 21, 2017, approximately a 20 to 25 year flood event, and includes planning, design, and project construction. Alternative funding sources, including federal funding, state grants, and additional local funding sources, are being explored and will need to be secured for full construction of the project.
Local funding only project:
The local funding only option includes identifying short-term flood relief solutions that are permittable and do not exacerbate flooding elsewhere, with implementation to begin prior to the 2017-2018 winter season. In addition, under the local funding only option, the District will complete the planning and design phases of the preferred project, and identify prioritized elements of the project for construction with the remaining local funds.
The project is currently in the planning phase. The project will develop solutions to protect Coyote Creek communities from Montague Expressway to Tully Road up to the level of the February 2017 flood, which was the highest flow event since Anderson Dam was constructed in 1950. The problem definition report will be completed fall 2018, followed by the development of alternatives and analysis in FY19.
The problem definition report is the first step in the planning phase and describes the findings and problems identified along the creek. Public input meetings will be scheduled in fall 2018.
The water district completed the installation of an interim floodwall and embankment along Coyote Creek in the Rock Springs community. This structure provides protection to the Rock Springs community from a flood event equivalent to the February 21, 2017 flood.
Concurrently, the water district is also conducting a United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) feasibility study, with as-needed technical help from the USACE, paid by the water district. This will be done to potentially become eligible for federal and state funding for the flood protection project. As a first step in that process, the District is scoping the Corps feasibility study report and determining schedule and costs.
Progress along Coyote Creek
Since the flood along Coyote Creek in February 2017, the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors acted on a series of short-term projects to help reduce the risk of flooding along Coyote Creek. The actions varied from immediate levee repairs and vegetation removal to advocacy for state and federal funding and construction of a flood risk reduction project. In addition, the board formed the Coyote Creek Ad Hoc Committee to help steer efforts to help reduce flood risks along Coyote Creek.
Updated October 2018
Coyote Creek Study Reports
Vegetation and wildlife assessment:
A water district sponsored study of the Coyote Creek historical ecology done by the San Francisco Bay Estuary Institute in 2006.
Key Performance Indicators for the Safe, Clean Water Program
- Preferred project with federal, state, and local funding: Secure alternative funding sources to construct a flood protection project that provides flood risk reduction from floods up to the level of flooding that occurred on February 21, 2017, approximately a 20 to 25 year flood event, between Montague Expressway and Tully Road.
With local funding only: (a) Identify short-term flood relief solutions and begin implementation prior to the 2017-2018 winter season; (b) Complete the planning and design phases of the preferred project; and (c) With any remaining funds, identify and construct prioritized elements of the preferred project.
Implements short-term flood relief solutions
Provides flood risk reduction for approximately 1,000 parcels from the level of flooding that occurred on February 21,2017, approximately a 20 to 25 year flood event, when the entire project from Montague Expressway to Tully Road is constructed
Improves water quality, enhances stream habitat and recreational opportunities
Incorporates revegetation and aesthetic elements of the Coyote Creek park chain in the project
Geographic Area of Benefit
The project area is approximately 9 miles from Montague Expressway upstream to Tully Road.
Flooding History and Project Background
Flooding has occurred many times within the Coyote Creek Watershed, including along portions of Coyote Creek in 1911, 1917, 1931, 1958, 1969, 1982, 1983, 1997, 1998, and 2017. The largest flow recorded on Coyote Creek was 25,000 cubic feet per second in 1911, prior to construction of the current 2 water-supply reservoirs in the upper watershed. The worst flooding in the project reach since Anderson Reservoir was constructed in 1950, occurred in February 2017. Coyote Creek overtopped its banks at several locations between Montague Expressway and Tully Road. Businesses and hundreds of homes were inundated by creek waters for many hours. Highway 101 near Watson Park and various local streets were closed due to flooding, and thousands of residents had to be evacuated and sheltered.
The Coyote Creek Project is located in the central portion of the Coyote Watershed on the mainstem of Coyote Creek, within the City of San José. The original project reach extended approximately 6.1 miles between Montague Expressway and Highway 280; however, the project reach was extended approximately 2.9 miles upstream to Tully Road in 2017 to include the Rock Springs neighborhood and incorporate the areas impacted by the February 21, 2017 flood event. In addition to the primary objective of reducing the risk of flooding to homes, schools, businesses, and highways from Coyote Creek flood events, the project may evaluate opportunities to improve fisheries, stream habitat values, and public access.
About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program
In November 2012 the voters of Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure B, the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program, as a countywide special parcel tax for 15 years with a sunset date of June 30, 2028. This Program replaced the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, which voters approved in November 2000.
The Safe, Clean Water Program was developed with input from more than 16,000 residents and stakeholders and was created to match the community’s needs and values. The voters of Santa Clara County identified five priorities:
Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply
Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways
Priority C: Protect our Water Supply from Earthquakes and Natural Disasters
Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space
Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools and Highways
Other: Six projects from the Clean, Safe, Creeks Plan have been carried forward into the Safe, Clean Water Program.
Each year, the District prepares a report providing a progress update for each of these Program priorities, along with fiscal year accomplishments.
To ensure transparency and accountability to the voters, the ballot measure also created an Independent Monitoring Committee, appointed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. The Independent Monitoring Committee annually reviews the Program’s progress to ensure the outcomes are achieved in a cost-efficient manner and reports its findings to the Board.
In addition, the Program requires three independent audits, the first of which was conducted in FY 2017.