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Coyote Creek Flood Protection*

About This Project

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, Valley Water 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.

*This project was voter approved as part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.

On Target
San José
Start FY 2018 / Finish FY 2025
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($34.0 million)
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

The project is currently at the end of the planning phase, moving into the design phase during fiscal year 2020-2021. The project will develop solutions to reduce the risk of flooding to communities along Coyote Creek 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

A planning study report is being completed which is the final step in the planning phase and describes the project planning process and the selection of the preferred alternative.

Visit our Valley Water blog to learn about our community input efforts on the Coyote Creek project.

Public Meetings

The following presentation was provided to the San Jose Parks Advocates in January 2020. The presentation is solely focused on the proposed alternatives that would be implemented at Watson, William Street, Selma Olinder, Coyote Meadows, and Kelley parks.   

  - SJ Parks Advocates presentation

The information shared at the November 2019 public meetings along with the recordings are available below:

- November 13, 2019: Roosevelt Community Center

- November 7, 2019: Franklin McKinley School District

- November 6, 2019: Golden Wheel Mobile Home Park (Club House)

The meetings were live streamed on

Public meetings to obtain input on the project's conceptual flood risk reduction measures were previously held in May and June 2019. The materials shared at each meeting are available under "Reports and Documents."

About the Project

Below are links to the project brochure and creek improvements insert, which include a project description, timeline and actions taken to reduce flood risks along Coyote Creek. 

- English: Project shell and insert

- Spanish: Project shell and insert

- Vietnamese: Project shell and insert

Valley Water completed the installation of an interim floodwall and embankment along Coyote Creek in the Rock Springs community in December 2017. This structure provides protection to the Rock Springs community from a flood event equivalent to the February 21, 2017 flood.

Concurrently, Valley Water is also conducting a United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) feasibility study, with as-needed technical help from the USACE, paid by Valley Water. 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, Valley Water 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.

The project update mailer is available for your review.

February 2020

For more information:

Click or tap to enlarge map.

Reports & Documents

Previous Public Meeting Materials

June 3, 2019 Roosevelt Community Center

May 30, 2019 Franklin-McKinley School District

May 21, 2019 San Jose Conservation Corps

Coyote Creek Study Reports 

Vegetation and wildlife assessment:

A Valley Water sponsored study of the Coyote Creek historical ecology done by the San Francisco Bay Estuary Institute in 2006.

Environmental & Community Benefits

Key Performance Indicators for the Safe, Clean Water Program

  1. 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. 
  2. 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 

San José - The project area is approximately 9 miles from Montague Expressway upstream to Tully Road.

Click or tap to enlarge map.
History & Background

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, Valley Water 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.

View the Safe, Clean Water Program’s annual reports, annual IMC audit reports, and independent audits, including a staff response, on the Valley Water website.