This project is a partnership with the California State Coastal Conservancy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and regional stakeholders to provide tidal flood protection, restore and enhance tidal marsh and related habitats, and provide recreational and public access opportunities along Santa Clara County’s shoreline.
This project relies on federal participation from the USACE to develop the project and prepare the plans. Without federal participation, Valley Water cannot implement planning, design and construction on our own due to limited available funding. The Safe, Clean Water funding provides a portion of the local share of funding for planning, design and construction phases for Economic Impact Areas (EIAs) 1-4, and a portion of the local share of funding for the planning study and design phases for EIAs 5-9.
The 2012 Safe, Clean Water Program has already provided $15 million as a portion of Valley Water’s local share of funding for flood protection improvements in Economic Impact Area (EIA) 11, which is the urban area of North San José and the community of Alviso. Once completed, EIA 11 will provide flood protection to more than 1,000 residential structures and 100 non-residential structures, and allow for the restoration of 2,900 acres of tidal marsh and related habitats.
The project will provide coastal flood protection from a rising sea level, and will restore and enhance tidal marsh by using a combination of flood protection levees, wetlands and transitional zone habitats also known as ecotones. Ecotones will provide an additional protective buffer for the levee and allow marsh habitat to migrate upslope as the sea level rises. This approach of using natural infrastructure will help develop a resilient and adaptable flood protection system that can evolve in the future.
(Photograph by Cris Benton)
The South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project will provide coastal flood protection from a rising sea level and will restore and enhance tidal marsh by using a combination of flood protection levees, wetlands and transitional zone habitats also known as ecotones. Ecotones will provide an additional protective buffer for the levee and allow marsh habitat to mitigate upslope as the sea level rises. This approach of using natural infrastructure will help develop a resilient and adaptable flood protection system that can evolve in the future.
The Shoreline Project is a strongly supported project as evidenced by the signing of the USACEE Chief's Report in December 2015, with a total Feasibility Study cost of $22 million, followed by its authorization for design and construction in the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act in December 2016.
The total project cost is $518 million to implement coastal flood risk management, ecosystem restoration, and recreational project elements. The project has received $124 million under the USACE 2018 Disaster Supplemental Appropriations Bill. SCC’s and Valley Water’s total local cost share of the project is $371 million. Valley Water’s local cost share is $269 million and SCC’s local cost share is $102 million. Valley Water has secured $17 million from the Safe, Clean Water program and $61 million from the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority’s Measure AA program. Remaining share of Valley Water funds will be from the Watershed Stream Stewardship Fund and Senate Bill 881 will allow Valley Water to be eligible for reimbursement from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) State Subventions Program pending DWR funding availability. Future federal appropriations of $17 million will be required for restoration monitoring
Economic Impact Area (EIA) 11
EIA 11 includes the urban area of North San José, the community of Alviso and the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility.
As of December 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services has completed their maintenance levee operations.
Reaches 1, 2 and 3
Reach 1 is from the Alviso Marina to the Union Pacific Railroad. Reaches 2 and 3 stretch from the Union Pacific Railroad to Artesian Slough. Valley Water has completed the acquisition of temporary easements required for construction of Reahces 1, 2 and 3. In January 2021, the USACE re-advertised for construction bidding for Reaches 1, 2 and 3 of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Phase 1 Project.
From late November 2021 to January 2024, the USACE and its contractor will begin construction of the Reaches 1, 2 and 3 flood protection levees. The daily construction hours will be from 7 am to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday excluding weekends and holidays. There will be no public access to trail users across the Pond A12, A13 and A16 berms that are within the construction work area. See the public notification here.
Reach 1 Design and Permits
- 100% Reach 1 levee design Plans and Specifications - Completed
- San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board permit for Reach 1 construction - Received December 2017
- San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission permit for Reach 1 construction - Received January 2018
- Reach 1 Right-of-Way - Acquired December 2019
Reaches 2 and 3 Design and Permits:
- 90% Reaches 2 and 3 levee design Plans and Specifications – Completed September 2019.
- San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board permit for Reaches 2 and 3 construction – Received December 2017.
- San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission permit for Reaches 2 & 3 construction – Received April 2019.
Reaches 2 and 3 Construction:
- Reaches 2 and 3 right-of-way fully acquired – June 2020.
- USACE re-advertised for construction – late January 2021.
- USACE to begin construction – summer 2021.
Reaches 4 and 5
Design of Reaches 4 and 5 are on hold while construction phasing, access points, haul routes, staging, and easements are being addressed with the property owner.
Reaches 4 and 5 Design and Permits:
- 30% Reaches 4 and 5 levee design plans and specifications – Completed April 2020.
- 60% Reaches 4 and 5 levee design plans and specifications – October 2020 (design on hold).
- Feasibility Study Phase: September 2005 to July 2016.
- Environmental Documents: The Valley Water Board of Directors certified the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on March 22, 2016. The Coastal Conservancy adopted the EIR as a responsible agency on March 22, 2018. The USACE and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services issued their Records of Decision for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in July 8, 2016 and April 6, 2017 respectively. The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority adopted the EIR as a responsible agency on April 11, 2018.
- Preliminary Engineering and Design Phase (including permitting): July 2016 to February 2019.
- Reach 1 Levee Procurement Contract March 2019 to June 2020.
Economic Impact Areas (EIA) 1-10
EIAs 1-10 include the shoreline areas located between San Francisquito Creek in Palo Alto and the Lower Guadalupe River in San José and includes the communities of Palo Alto, Mountain View, NASA, Sunnyvale, San José, and Santa Clara. The USACE, in partnership with Valley Water and the California State Coastal Conservancy, initiated the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Phase II Feasibility Study (Phase II Feasibility Study) in September 2019. The USACE, Valley Water, and State Coastal Conservancy will continue using a phased approach by breaking up EIAs 1-10 into two separate studies. The USACE Phase II Feasibility Study will focus on EIAs 1-4, from San Francisquito Creek in Palo Alto to Permanente Creek in Mountain View. The USACE has requested funds as a part of the regular federal budget cycle for a future Phase III Feasibility Study focusing on the remaining EIAs 5-10, from Permanente Creek in Mountain View to Guadalupe River in San José.
- USACE Phase II Feasibility Study (EIAs 1-4): The project team is currently developing a focused array of alternatives and collecting and analyzing data to determine the tentatively selected plan. The team is working to complete the hydraulic model to understand potential future coastal and riverine implications for the Shoreline area. A geotechnical investigation of the existing levee system around Palo Alto flood basin was completed in early November 2021.
EIAs 4 and 5: Valley Water is coordinating with the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project (SBSPRP) team to construct the 1% coastal flood risk management levee in EIAs 4 and 5 (Mountain View EIAs).
EIAs 6-10: In 2019, Valley Water engaged the San Francisco Estuary Institute to develop a visioning document for the Sunnyvale shoreline area, called the Sunnyvale Shoreline Resilience Vision. The Vision group stakeholders include Valley Water, the City of Sunnyvale, Lockheed Martin, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, NASA, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, and Google. During the first phase of collaboration between 2019 and 2021, the Vision group successfully advanced preparatory actions for the future Shoreline Phase III Feasibility Study for the Moffett Airfield and Sunnyvale shoreline, including lobbying Congress for dedication of funds, increasing alignment between stakeholders, exploring synergies between individual planning efforts, and gathering data USACE will need for their analysis. An executive summary documenting the Vision group’s efforts was finalized in December 2021 and can be accessed here. The Shoreline Phase III Feasibility Study’s start is dependent on the receipt of federal funds. Stakeholders are committed to ongoing collaboration and coordination efforts and plan to stay closely coordinated around the anticipated feasibility study once funding is made available.
EIA 10: Valley Water is working with the SBSPRP team to plan flood risk management efforts in EIA 10 (San José/Santa Clara and Pond A8 group).
Valley Water’s Preliminary Feasibility Study: Began in June 2015 and was completed and finalized in March 2017. The preliminary study’s goal was to identify a preliminary 1% coastal flood risk management alignment with related benefits and costs for the EIAs 1-10 coastal area to aid in determining the Valley Water’s next study phase or phases and to identify potential study partnership opportunities. The preliminary alignment was identified and used to move forward with conducting the preliminary feasibility study analysis. The City of Palo Alto, City of Mountain View, City of Sunnyvale, City of San José, NASA Moffett Field, US Fish and Wildlife Service, State Coastal Conservancy and Mid-Peninsula Open Space Authority were all consulted in the identification of the preliminary alignment.
USACE Phase II Feasibility Study (EIAs 1-4): On September 26, 2019, USACE, Valley Water, and State Coastal Conservancy signed the Feasibility Cost Share Agreement for the next study phase. A kickoff for the planning charette was held on October 9, 2019. The USACE held the Alternatives Milestone Meeting in January 2020. USACE leadership approved an exemption request to increase the feasibility study budget and extend the schedule on Sept. 29, 2021. The study is scheduled to be completed in 2025.
Updated December 2021
Project Fact Sheets
Economic Impact Area 11
The USACE Chief's Report is available to download from here.
The conformed Board agenda memo for the certification of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is available to download from here.
The Final Integrated Document consisting of the study’s Feasibility Report and combined EIR/EIS can downloaded from the following links:
Final Interim Feasibility Study with Environmental Impact Statement / Environmental Impact Report
Appendix B: Supporting Planning and Environmental
Addenda to FEIR/FEIS:
- Addendum No. 1
- Addendum No. 2
- Addendum No. 3
- Addendum No. 4
- Addendum No. 5
- Supplemental Information Report to the FEIS: https://www.spn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Environmental/
Economic Impact Areas 1-10
The Preliminary Feasibility Study for EIAs 1-10 can be downloaded from the following links:
For further information, please see http://www.southbayshoreline.org/.
FY22-36 Key Performance Indicator for the Safe, Clean Water Program
Provide a portion of the local share of funding for planning, design and construction phases for the Santa Clara County shoreline area, EIAs 1-4.
Provide a portion of the local share of funding for planning and design phases for the Santa Clara County shoreline area, EIAs 5-9.
Provides planning and design to protect nearly 4,700 acres and more than 5,000 structures, including roads, highways, parks, airports and sewage treatment plants in Santa Clara County
Allows for restoration of tidal marsh habitat for endangered wildlife such as the salt marsh harvest mouse and Ridgway’s rail; rich feeding grounds for shorebirds; and nursery areas for young fish such as leopard sharks and steelhead
Provides educational, recreational and public access opportunities
Protects more than 4,300 structures (EIAs 1-4)
Allows for the restoration of 400 acres of tidal marsh and related habitats (EIAs 1-4)
Addresses climate change
Geographic Area of Benefit
Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San José, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale
Flooding History and Project Background
This project stems from the 2003 acquisition of thousands of acres of former South Bay salt production ponds, purchased for restoration with combined public and private funding. The South Bay Shoreline Protection Project is an important component of the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, a large, multi-agency effort to restore 16,500 acres of tidal wetlands which involves all South Bay cities that meet the San Francisco Bay. Without incorporating flood protection measures, proposed recreational use and environmental restoration is likely to reduce the effectiveness of existing shoreline levees formerly maintained for salt production. Project E7 would upgrade levees to protect Silicon Valley’s “Golden Triangle,” bounded by Highways 101, 237 and 880, and extending north into the Baylands of Milpitas. Multiple flood events since the mid-1990s have damaged business operations in this area, now home to major high-tech corporations including Intel, Google, Yahoo, Cisco, and others. The project would also protect Alviso neighborhoods, as well as important infrastructure such as airports and sewage treatment plants.
The existing multi-agency partnerships for the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration project and the San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study ensure that all goals for this largest wetland restoration on the West Coast will be incorporated. The Safe, Clean Water measure provides a share of the total funding needed for planning and design phases for the full shoreline project area. It also provides the funding needed to purchase lands, easements and rights-of-way as necessary to construct improvements in EIA 11, and a share of the construction costs for that portion of the project.
About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program
In November 2020, voters in Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure S, a renewal of Valley Water’s Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.
The program was first passed by voters in 2000 as the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, then again in 2012 as the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program. The renewal of the Safe, Clean Water Program will continue to provide approximately $47 million annually for local projects that deliver safe, clean water, natural flood protection, and environmental stewardship to all the communities we serve in Santa Clara County.
While evaluating ways to improve the 2012 program, Valley Water gathered feedback from more than 21,000 community members. That helped Valley Water create the six priorities for the renewed Safe, Clean Water Program, which are:
Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply
Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways
Priority C: Protect our Water Supply and Dams from Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters
Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space
Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools, Streets and Highways
Priority F: Support Public Health and Public Safety for Our Community
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. Additionally, the IMC also reviews each proposed 5-year implementation plan prior to its submittal for Board approval.
In addition, the program requires three independent audits.