Valley Water monitors nest of threatened bird species during pre-construction activities at South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project | Santa Clara Valley Water
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Valley Water monitors nest of threatened bird species during pre-construction activities at South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project

June 12, 2019
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Western snowy plover
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Life finds a way, but the trucks must wait

The Santa Clara Valley Water District, now known as Valley Water, started delivering levee fill material to Alviso in May for pre-construction activities for the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project. But deliveries have stopped after a discovery worth “tweeting” about.   

The project biologist found an active nest for a bird species that is listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. The western snowy plover (pictured above) is a small, pale shorebird. Its nest was discovered next to Pond A12, about a football-field length away from where trucks had been stockpiling levee fill material since April 30. That material will eventually be used to build a 15.2-foot high flood protection levee as part of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project.

When finished, the project will provide flood protection to thousands of residents, workers and commuters in the area. The project also has a goal to restore vital ecosystems for a variety of threatened and endangered species, including the snowy plover.

As for the nest, the National Audubon Society says incubation can last for a month. Chicks typically leave the nest within hours of hatching, but young do not fly until about 30 days after hatching. The project team is working closely with biologists and permitting agencies to determine when work may be able to resume.

For now, our trucks will stay in park, and we will wait for nature to take its course. The western snowy plover can rest assured that Valley Water is keeping an eye on our feathered friends. 

More information on the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project


Valley Water manages an integrated water resources system that includes the supply of clean, safe water, flood protection and stewardship of streams on behalf of Santa Clara County's 2 million residents. The district effectively manages 10 dams and surface water reservoirs, three water treatment plants, an advanced recycled water purification center, a state-of-the-art water quality laboratory, nearly 400 acres of groundwater recharge ponds and more than 275 miles of streams. We provide wholesale water and groundwater management services to local municipalities and private water retailers who deliver drinking water directly to homes and businesses in Santa Clara County.