SACRAMENTO—Senate Bill 881, authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Sept. 22, providing the Santa Clara Valley Water District access to state flood protection funding.
SB 881 would add the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project (Shoreline Project) to the list of flood control projects that are authorized receive state flood control subvention reimbursements. The bill allows the Santa Clara Valley Water District to receive repayment from the state for a portion of the project estimated to be $4 million to $7 million, to be determined as the project progresses. The project will be constructed with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“With climate change bringing about increased storm intensity and sea level rise, the Shoreline Project is a critical collaboration of federal, state and local agencies,” said Wieckowski, chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. “I applaud the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s leadership on this vital project.”
To be eligible for reimbursements, a project must first be added by state legislation to the Department of Water Resources project list for the Flood Control Subventions Program. The Shoreline Project combines the environmental restoration of wetlands with traditional levee construction to protect life and property in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, San José, and the community of Alviso from the risk of flooding from severe storms, high tides and rising seas.
The South Bay shoreline has seen increased flooding in recent years due to the confluence of severe storms and high tides. With the onset of climate change, coastal flooding is expected to become more prevalent and severe. The Shoreline Project helps address these issues through multi-purpose objectives, using wetlands restoration and levees to increase flood protection.
“The Shoreline Project is truly a collaborative effort from every level of government, from the water district, the State Coastal Conservancy, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. By signing SB 881, Governor Brown brings funding from the California Department of Water Resources to this innovative project that both reduces flood risk due to sea level rise and restores thousands of acres of San Francisco Bay wetlands,” said the water district’s board chair, Richard Santos. “This project is vital to our economy and the safety of our community.”
The Shoreline Project was authorized for federal funding by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation “WIIN” Act, signed by President Obama on December 16, 2016, leading to $177 million in federal funding appropriated through a recently enacted supplemental spending bill.
The first phase of the project includes construction of a new 4-mile levee along the South San Francisco Bay shoreline and restoration of about 2,900 acres of former salt-production ponds to tidal marsh habitat. It will also provide recreation opportunities and complete certain segments of the San Francisco Bay Trail.