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FAHCE: Fish and Aquatic Habitat Collaborative Effort


This 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

History and background

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

In 2003, the water district 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 three watershed areas. 

History of FAHCE Program (Updated 2021)


Planning. Before fully implementing the plan, the water district will need to:

  • Complete the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and Fish Habitat and Restoration Plan (FHRP)
  • Modify 15 of its 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 its water diversions
  • Secure resource agency permits
  • Ensure the water rights complaint is dismissed


Three watersheds within Santa Clara County in the cities of San Jose, Mountain View, Morgan Hill and Cupertino.


The FAHCE effort began in 1997.


The program is funded through the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s utility fund

News and updates

The water district is completing the modeling work to prepare for a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to support the Fish Habitat Restoration Plan for the Guadalupe River, Coyote Creek and Stevens Creek watersheds. The district holds water rights licenses for these creeks. The program team is targeting spring 2019 to complete the draft EIR. 

Reports and documents 

Environmental and community benefits

  • Provide flows to improve habitat conditions
  • Resolution of water rights concerns
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements

For more information:

  • Sarah Young, project manager, 408-630-2468
  • Tony Mercado, public information, 408-630-2342
  • Use “Access Valley Water” to submit questions, complains or compliments