This project allows Valley Water to revitalize habitat for rare, threatened or endangered species or vegetation types, and create a more contiguous corridor for wildlife, including pollinators. Funding helps to restore degraded habitat by removing invasive plants and/or revegetating with native species. Funding is prioritized for projects that include community partnerships or provide education for nearby landowners and other stakeholder groups on the control of harmful species.
The project will also create an Early Detection and Rapid Response Program to identify and treat small infestations of new weeds before they become established.
Increasing the quality and quantity of native habitat areas and improving the connections between them are important adaptive strategies to support native species as climate conditions change. It increases access to new areas for migration and more room for hiding, hunting, breeding and rearing as needs evolve and increase.
KPI #1: (Revitalize acres)
Continuing 3 partnerships to revitalize native habitats, cooperate on Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR), identify occurrences, and remove invasive plants:
- Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (since July 2017): Midpen is working to bring back native landscapes and biodiversity that once thrived on the Bear Creek Redwoods Open Space Preserve above Lexington Reservoir. Volunteers and staff remove harmful invasive plants along its creeks to improve habitat for rare wildlife. Click here for a map showing work areas at Bear Creek Redwoods. Work in FY22 is expanding to include invasive plant removal at additional preserves, including Fremont Older, Picchetti Ranch, Sierra Azul, and Rancho San Antonio.
- California State Coastal Conservancy (since 2018): Controlling invasive smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) in partnership with the CA State Coastal Conservancy and Invasive Spartina Project. Click for a map of invasive Spartina coverage. Field work for FY22 has concluded, and an accounting of the acreage treated this year is expected to be available in May 2022.
- City of San José (since 2018): This is the fifth and final year of the City of San José partnership, working on Coyote Creek in response to the 2017 flood. Valley Water's Stream Maintenance Program removed some of the giant reed (Arundo donax) at Oakland Road in 2017, where it impacts ecological conditions and hinders flow conveyance. The City and its contractors will complete giant reed clearing and native habitat restoration at this location in 2022. Map
KPI #2: (Early Detection and Rapid Response)
- Draft target list of EDRR species has been developed
- In the process of bringing on board a consultant to assist in the development of the EDRR program
KPI #3: (Invasive species)
- 19 populations of target emergent invasive species have been identified and documented since July 1, 2021. A total of 211 populations of target species have been identified and documented since 2018.
KPI #4: (Information sheets)
- Information sheets will be developed for high priority early detection species for the county. The timeline for information sheet development is expected to coincide with that of the EDRR manual, currently anticipated to begin in FY23
Valley Water is a founding and active member of the Santa Clara County Wildlife Corridors Working Group with the United States Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Caltrans, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), Santa Clara County Parks, Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency (VHA), Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), Open Space Authority (OSA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), De Anza College, and others
- Valley Water is an active member of the Santa Clara Weed Management Area (SCWMA) working group with Santa Clara County Parks, California State Parks, County of Santa Clara Division of Agriculture, Caltrans, and other area partners
Updated April 2022
Web sites and online tools
- CA Invasive Plant Council (Cal-IPC) - scroll down to the middle of Cal-IPC’s home page for science-based tools and information
- Calflora - an abundance of information on California plants;
- Calfora’s What Grows Here
- SFEI’s historical ecology - shows past and present habitats, and environmental conditions important for habitat revitalization
- Sycamore Alluvial Woodland Planting Guide (Loma Prieta RCD, SFEI, and HT Harvey 2018)
- Sycamore Alluvial Woodland: Habitat mapping and regeneration study (Beagle et al., 2017 SFEI)
- Re-Oaking - CA oaks and other native trees (SFEI)
- Resilient Silicon Valley - improving ecosystem health (SFEI)
- Urban Ecological Planning Guide for Santa Clara Valley by SFEI (2019)
- San Francisco Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Project (2016)
- Santa Clara County Wildlife Corridors Working Group recommendations to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions on the Monterey Road corridor in Coyote Valley
- NBC Bay Area Open Road with Doug McDonnell Coyote Valley Wildlife Corridor
- PG&E Plant the right tree in the right place
- Calscape by CNPS - native butterflies & moths by location, including host plants
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) PLANTS Database
- USDA Forest Service invasive species
- The Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic weeds (FICMNEW)
- California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Encycloweedia noxious weeds
- Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program, University of California (UC IPM)
- State Water Resources Control Board posts slide presentations on the problem of invasive species, including plants
- San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board – Invasive non-native species to avoid in wetland projects in the San Francisco Bay Region (2006)
Methods to control invasive plants
- Don't Plant a Pest! (CAL-IPC)
- Don't plant me! (CDFW)
- Weed Workers’ Handbook (The Watershed Project and Cal-IPC)
- Cal-IPC Invasive Plant Management references including Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands (Bossard et al. 2000)
- Practical Guidebook for the Identification and Control of Invasive Aquatic and Wetland Plants (SFEI)
Water mold alerts
- CalPhytos Phytophthoras in native plants
- Sudden oak death – California Oak Mortality Task Force
- Phytophthora pathogens threaten rare habitats and conservation plantings (Frankel et al. 2020)
- Valley Water hosted symposiums:
Record, Track and Monitor Weeds
- Calflora’s Weed Manager (WM) enables organizations engaged in land management to track weed infestations and treatments over time.
Native Plant Gardens
FY22-36 Key Performance Indicators for the Safe, Clean Water Program
Revitalize at least 21 acres over a 15-year period through native plant revegetation and/or removal of invasive exotic species.
Develop an Early Detection and Rapid Response Program Manual.
Identify and treat at least 100 occurrences of emergent invasive species over a 15-year period, as identified through the Early Detection and Rapid Response Program.
Develop at least eight (8) information sheets for Early Detection of Invasive Plant Species.
Increases viability of native plant species by reducing competition from non-native, invasive species
Improves habitat by installing tidal, riparian, and upland plant species or allowing native vegetation to passively regenerate after treatment/removal of invasive species
Improves ecological function of existing riparian, wetland and potentially upland habitats to support more diverse wildlife species
Improves patchy wildlife corridors by increasing connectivity with nearby habitat areas
Increases community awareness about the damaging impact that non-native, invasive plants have on local ecosystems
Helps to prevent new invasive species from becoming established
Early Detection Invasive Species Information Sheets will guide staff and public on identification and treatment options, raise public awareness, and help prevent the spread of new noxious weeds
Geographic Area of Benefit
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.