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.
*This project was voter approved as part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.
See Environmental & Community Benefits section for complete description of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
KPI #1: (Revitalize acres)
Since the inception of the renewed Safe Clean Water Project D2 in FY22 (July 2021 – June 2022), Valley Water and its partners have revitalized 0.3 acres. Acreage totals will be updated after the close of FY23 (July 2022 – June 2023).
- 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. In FY22, the Conservancy treated 5.5 acres of invasive Spartina within a matrix of over 8,700 acres of tidal marsh and ecotone habitats in Valley Water's service area. Of the 5.5 acres, a small area (0.01 ac) is new treatment in the Sunnyvale Baylands marsh. The remaining acreage is retreatment, ensuring that this aggressive invader and ecosystem engineer does not regain a foothold in sensitive bayland habitats, imperiling endangered species such as the Ridgway's rail. Fieldwork for FY24 is currently being planned.
- Grassroots Ecology (since 2021): In November 2021, Valley Water entered into an agreement with Grassroots Ecology to restore a section of the San José - Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility buffer lands in Alviso for pollinator and burrowing owl foraging habitat. Over 825 plants were installed in January and February 2022 in upland habitat islands and seasonal wetland test plots. In FY23, work expanded to include an additional 721 plants and invasive plant treatment in the areas surrounding the native plant installations.
- Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (since July 2017): Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (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. In FY22, Midpen began new projects at Bear Creek Redwoods (7.5 acres) and Sierra Azul (8.2 acres) Open Space Preserves, totaling 15.7 acres. Because these projects are in their first year of treatment they will be counted as revitalized in future fiscal years when the invasive plant populations have been successfully controlled. In FY23, the agreement between Midpen and Valley Water was extended for five additional years, allowing work to expand to additional Midpen preserves. Work in FY23 will continue at Bear Creek Rewoods and Sierra Azul Preserves and begin at Fremont Older Preserve.
- City of San José: Calendar year 2022 was the fifth and final year of the City of San José D2 partnership, working on Coyote Creek in response to the 2017 flood. Valley Water's Stream Maintenance Program (SMP) removed some giant reed (Arundo donax) at Oakland Road, where it impacts ecological conditions and hinders flow conveyance. The City continued revitalizing its property, approximately 1.5 acres along Coyote Creek between Oakland Road and Berryessa Road. A native seed mix was applied after removing giant reed and other invasive vegetation.
KPI #2: (Early Detection and Rapid Response)
- Valley Water developed a draft target list of EDRR species.
- Valley Water hired a consultant to assist in the development of the EDRR Program, as part of a comprehensive Integrated Invasive Plant Management Program. Program development is anticipated to take place during FY23 and FY24, with CEQA and permitting to take place during FY24 and FY25.
KPI #3: (Invasive species)
- Identified and documented 61 populations of target emergent invasive species In FY22 and 37 through FY23 Q3 (July 2022 – March 2023). A total of 290 populations of target species have been identified and documented since 2018. These will be treated once the EDRR program is operational.
KPI #4: (Information sheets)
- Valley Water will develop information sheets for high-priority early detection species in the county. The timeline for information sheet development is expected to coincide with that of the EDRR manual, currently anticipated to begin in late 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.
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
- National Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC)
- 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)
- Cal-IPC Invasive Plant Management references including EDRR and Invasive Plants of California's Wildlands (Bossard et al. 2000)
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)
- Practical Guidebook for the Identification and Control of Invasive Aquatic and Wetland Plants (SFEI)
Water mold alerts
Phytophthora species are pathogenic water molds affecting our native plants. For more information, go to Why the concern (2015), CNPS and below.
- 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
- Valley Water’s Landscape Rebate Program
- California Native Plant Society (CNPS) and its Santa Clara Valley Chapter
- South Bay Green Gardens
- CNPS Calscape Garden Planner
Santa Clara County Native Habitat Plant Palettes
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.
View the Safe, Clean Water Program’s annual reports, annual IMC audit reports, and independent audits, including a staff response, on the Valley Water website.