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E7: San Francisco Bay Shoreline Protection*

About This Project

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. Initial construction for flood protection is planned for Economic Impact Area (EIA) 11, which is the urban area of North San José and the community of Alviso.

This project relies on federal participation from USACE to review and approve the plans. Without federal participation, the District cannot implement additional planning, design and construction due to limited available funding. The proposed Safe, Clean Water funding provides the District’s cost share to complete the planning study for EIAs 1-10, and provides a portion of the District’s cost share toward design and construction of flood protection improvements in the North San José area (EIA 11), in and near Alviso.

Photograph by Cris Benton.

*This project was voter approved as part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.


Shoreline - Chicago Marsh Cris Benton
Adjusted (schedule adjustment)
Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale
Start FY 2014 / Finish FY 2028
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($39.3 million), Watershed Stream Stewardship Fund
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

Economic Impact Area 11 

EIA 11 includes the urban area of North San José, the community of Alviso and the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility.

Current activities:

The District is working with the USACE and Coastal Conservancy (study partners) to prepare to begin construction of Reach 1 in late 2018. Reach 1 extends from the Alviso Marina to the Union Pacific Railroad. Preparations include acquiring the necessary rights-of-way and fill material, as well as preparing for community outreach activities.

Reach 1 Design and Permits:

Reach 1 Construction:

  • USACE is awaiting new start construction authorization and federal funds to enter into a construction partnership agreement. This project has strong federal support and the study partners are hopeful construction authorization will occur to support beginning construction in 2018.

Completed Milestones:

  • Feasibility Phase: Completed on Dec. 18, 2015.

  • Environmental Documents: Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was certified by the District Board on March 22, 2016. The USACE and USFWS issued their Records of Decision for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in July 2016 and April 2017 respectively.

  • Funding: The USACE received $3 million to proceed into the Design Phase in 2016 and another $500,000 in 2017. The Water Resources Development Act of 2016, also known as the Water Infrastructure Improvement for the Nation Act, was signed by President Obama which authorized the Project for construction. USACE is now awaiting for the federal funds to support the construction phase (as noted above).

  • Design Phase: In July of 2016, the study partners signed a design agreement to begin the design phase. Design, permitting and construction is moving forward in phases beginning with Reach 1 which is from the Alviso Marina to the Union Pacific Railroad.

Economic Impact Areas 1-10

EIAs 1-10 includes the shoreline areas located between San Francisquito Creek and the Lower Guadalupe River and includes the communities of Palo Alto, Mountain View, NASA, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Santa Clara.

Current activities:

  • EIAs 1-10: The study partners are awaiting for USACE to receive federal funds to hold a workshop to explore a potential next feasibility study phase.

  • EIAs 4 and 5: The District 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). The planning and design is complete.

  • EIA 10: The District is working with the SBSPRP team to plan flood risk management efforts in EIA 10 (San José/Santa Clara Pond A8 EIA)

Completed milestones:

  • District’s Preliminary Feasibility Study: Began in June 2015 and 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 District’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.


Updated May 2018

For more information:

Reports & Documents

Project Fact Sheets

Economic Impact Area 11

Appendix A: NEPA/CEQA Supporting Documents 

Appendix B: Supporting Planning and Environmental 

Documentation and Information (Appendix B1-B6 and Appendix B7-B12

Appendix C: Economics 

Appendix D: Hydrology and Hydraulics 

Appendix E1: Civil Design and Cost Engineering 

Appendix E2: Basis of Cost Estimate Memorandum 

Appendix F: Monitoring and Adaptive Management Plan for Ecosystem Restoration 

Appendix G: Geotechnical Engineering 

Appendix H: Real Estate 

Appendix I: Public Comments 

Appendix J: Support Letters 

Errata to Final EIR + CEQA Summary 020916

Economic Impact Areas 1-10

  • The Preliminary Feasibility Study for EIAs 1-10 can be downloaded from the following links:

Final Preliminary Feasibility Study for South San Francisco Bay Shoreline 

Executive Summary

Final Evaluation Report

Appendix 1: Long Wave Modeling Report

Appendix 2:  Statistic Analysis of Water Surface Elevation

Appendix 3: Coastal Storm Damage Risk Analysis 

Appendix 4: Hydraulic Analysis

Environmental & Community Benefits

Key Performance Indicators for the Safe, Clean Water Program 

  1. Provide portion of the local share of funding for planning and design phases for the former salt production ponds and Santa Clara County shoreline area.

  2. Provide portion of the local share of funding toward estimated cost of initial project phase (EIA 11).


  • Protects more than 1,000 structures and 100 non-residential structures (EIA 11)

  • 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 all of Santa Clara County

  • Allows for the restoration of 2,900 acres of tidal marsh and related habitats (EIA 11)

  • Provides educational, recreational, and public access opportunities

Geographic Area of Benefit

Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale 

History & Background

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 2012 the voters of Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure B, the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program, as a countywide special parcel tax for 15 years with a sunset date of June 30, 2028. This Program replaced the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, which voters approved in November 2000.

The Safe, Clean Water Program was developed with input from more than 16,000 residents and stakeholders and was created to match the community’s needs and values. The voters of Santa Clara County identified five priorities:

Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply

Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways

Priority C: Protect our Water Supply from Earthquakes and Natural Disasters

Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space

Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools and Highways

Other: Six projects from the Clean, Safe, Creeks Plan have been carried forward into the Safe, Clean Water Program.  

Each year, the District 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.

In addition, the Program requires three independent audits, the first of which was conducted in FY 2017.

View the Safe, Clean Water Program’s annual reports, annual IMC audit reports, and independent audits, including a staff response, on the District website.