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FAHCE: Fish and Aquatic Habitat Collaborative Effort

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About this Program

FAHCE is the acronym for the Fish and Aquatic Habitat Collaborative Effort, a collaborative process to identify actions to balance fish and aquatic habitat needs with Valley Water’s water supply operations. The program seeks to improve aquatic spawning and rearing habitat and fish passage for migration to and from the watersheds of the Coyote and Stevens Creeks and Guadalupe River. These actions include:

  • Modifications to reservoir operations to provide instream flows
  • Restoration measures to improve habitat conditions and provide fish passage
  • Monitoring and adaptive management

Environmental and community benefits includes providing flows to improve habitat conditions; resolving water rights concerns; and complying with regulatory requirements. The program is funded through the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s utility fund.

Status of Environmental Review

Valley Water is proposing a Fish Habitat Restoration Plan (FHRP) to carry out the actions listed above aimed to implement the Settlement Agreement Regarding Water Rights of the Santa Clara Valley Water District on Coyote, Guadalupe, and Stevens Creeks, initialed by the Initialing Parties in 2003 (See History and background below).  Following the publication of a Notice of Preparation (NOP) in 2015, and a scoping meeting in 2017, a Draft FAHCE Environmental Impact Review (EIR) for Phase 1 flow and non-flow measures under the FAHCE Settlement for the Stevens Creek and the Guadalupe River watersheds has been prepared.  This EIR is a Program EIR that also provides project level review for some project components.  The flow and non-flow measures identified in FAHCE Phase 1 for Coyote Creek will be analyzed in the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Project (ADSRP) EIR.

Next Steps

  • Finalize Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs).
  • Modify 15 water rights licenses with the State Water Resources Control Board.
  • Obtain California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Lake and Stream Alteration Agreements associated with water diversions.
  • Secure resource agency permits.

History and Background

In 1996, the Guadalupe-Coyote Resource Conservation District filed a complaint with the State Water Resources Control Board over the Valley Water’s use of water rights in the Stevens Creek, Coyote Creek and Guadalupe River watersheds. FAHCE was established to resolve this complaint.

In 2003, Valley Water initialed a Settlement Agreement (SA) regarding water rights with the Guadalupe-Coyote Resource Conservation District, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service and a group of nongovernmental organizations, including Trout Unlimited, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, California Trout, Urban Creeks Council and the Northern California Council of Federation of Fly Fishers. The 2003 SA provides a roadmap for resolving water rights complaint and for improving habitat conditions for fish in the three watershed areas.

For more information:  

  • Ryan Heacock, Senior Water Resources Specialist, 408-630-3202
  • Sarah Young, Senior Project Manager, 408-630-2468
  • Tony Mercado, Public Information Rep, 408-630-2342
  • Use “Access Valley Water” to submit questions, complains or compliments.