SAN JOSE — Valley Water held a groundbreaking ceremony today to commemorate the start of construction on the first phase of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project. Valley Water is partnering with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California State Coastal Conservancy, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on the construction of this multi-objective infrastructure project.
Construction crews recently began work on the first phase of a 4-mile coastal flood risk levee. When the project is complete, it will reduce coastal flood risk for approximately 5,500 residents, commuters and businesses within the vicinity of Alviso, including the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility and the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center.
“As we continue to see the alarming effects of climate change on our region, we must invest in infrastructure projects that will protect areas from coastal flooding,” said John L. Varela, Chair Pro Tem. “Valley Water is proud to be a part of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project as it's the first in the South Bay to protect the area from coastal flood risk and bring back lost habitat.”
In addition to being the first of its kind in Santa Clara County, the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project is the first U.S. Army Corps project in the country to incorporate sea-level rise into project planning and design.
“This project is extremely important for both reducing flood risk and restoring tidal wetlands, as we look to build a resilient shoreline here in the South Bay against the impacts of climate change,” said Lt. Col. Kevin Arnett, Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers San Francisco District. “We are proud to partner with Valley Water, Coastal Conservancy, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, with everyone committed to making this project a success.”
The project will also provide large environmental benefits that will be felt across all sections of San Francisco Bay. The project will restore and enhance 2,900-acres of tidal marsh and related habitat lost due to former salt pond production activities. Native fish, birds, plants and other wildlife that once thrived along the Bay will slowly start returning to help create a healthier environment.
“The Shoreline Project is multi-benefit, combining wildlife habitat, public access, and flood protection for communities and infrastructure,” said Amy Hutzel, Executive Officer of the California State Coastal Conservancy. “The Coastal Conservancy has been proud to be a partner in this project since its early days because we believed in this pioneering approach to managing flood risk for the people of Alviso, increasing access to nature, and improving the health of the Bay.”
“The Shoreline Project will assist in the healing of almost 3,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge lands by turning industrial salt production ponds into thriving native ecosystems,” said Matthew Brown, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex Manager. “This restoration project provides increased public access by connecting the citizens of Alviso, California, and the broader San Francisco Bay Region to their public lands.”
The South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project is funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority through the Bay Area regional Measure AA, the Department of Water Resources State Flood Control Subvention Program, and the voter-approved Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.