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D3: Grants and Partnerships to Restore Wildlife Habitat *

About This Project

This project provides grants and partnerships for activities such as developing Stream Corridor Priority Plans; creating or enhancing wetland, riparian and tidal marsh habitat; protecting special status species; removing fish migration barriers; installing fish ladders; removing non-native, invasive plant species; and planting native species. The project includes 7 grant cycles, 1 held approximately every other year during the 15-year duration of the Safe, Clean Water Program, as well as funding for partnerships that restore stream and wetland habitat and provide open space access. This project also funds work that provides access to creekside trails or trails that provide a significant link to the creekside trail network, for example, the possible construction of a bridge over Coyote Creek in the Rock Springs neighborhood.


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

South Valley Meadow Construction
On Target
Start FY 2014 / Finish FY 2028
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($24.1 million)
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

Key Performance Indicators for the Safe, Clean Water Program

KPI #1: Develop 5 Stream Corridor Priority Plans to prioritize stream restoration activities.

In FY17, the District analyzed existing and available information to assess which creeks would be most suitable for the first SCPPs. Candidate creeks were selected based on a qualitative assessment of opportunities for small-scale ecological projects along the creek. Creeks with good existing information rose to the top of a list of potential SCPPs. The District assessed the following creeks as the highest -priority for developing SCPPs. 

  • Lower Peninsula Watershed - Stevens Creek 

  • Coyote Watershed - Coyote Creek (candidate reach is approx. Montague to Coyote Narrows) 

  • Guadalupe Watershed - Guadalupe River

  • Pajaro Watershed - Uvas Creek (downstream of Uvas Reservoir) 

  • West Valley Watershed - Saratoga Creek 

Additional high-priority creeks also include: San Francisquito, Upper Penitencia, Silver/Thompson, Los Gatos, Pajaro, and Permanente. Any of these creeks may be selected for SCPP development if higher priority creeks are ruled-out or postponed. Specific reaches to be included in the SCPPs will be determined independently, as individual plans are initiated. 

In FY18, Stevens Creek will be the first creek for which a Stream Corridor Priority Plan will be developed. Work was initiated for Stevens Creek, but delayed due to staffing issues. 

KPI #2: Provide 7 grant cycles and additional partnerships for $21 million that follow pre-established criteria related to the creation or restoration of wetlands, riparian habitat and favorable stream conditions for fisheries and wildlife, and providing new public access to trails.

Trails and Open Space Grants

The Board approved 3 new Trails & Open Space grant projects in FY18. The following projects were approved by the Board on March 13, 2018 to receive funding:

  • West Little Llagas Creek Interpretive Wildlife Trail Project - City of Morgan Hill ($200,000)
  • Webb Creek Bridge - Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District ($149,500)
  • West Valley College Vasona Creek Trail Phase - West Valley College ($221,500)

Wildlife Habitat Restoration Grants 

Applications for Restoration grants were accepted from January 26-March 30, 2018. Staff is still currently reviewing the applications and will be presenting funding recommendations to the Board in September 2018.

Wildlife Habitat Restoration Pilot Mini-Grants Program 

The District wrapped up its pilot Mini-Grants Program on June 30, 2018. 17 mini-grants were awarded, and a few more are pending review, as they were all received prior to the June 30 due date. Staff will review the program and solicit feedback from applicants to evaluate the success and challenges in the pilot year. Staff will present the analysis to the Board in September with recommendations for next steps. The following mini-grants have been awarded:

  • Citizens for Environmental and Economic Justice (CEEJ) - East San Jose: Overfelt Gardens Park Community Project ($5,000)
  • Bay Area Older Adults - Watersheds & Wildlife Education Project ($5,000)
  • Grassroots Ecology - Grassroots Ecology College Internship Program ($5,000)
  • Guadalupe River Park Conservancy Next Generation Science Standards Curriculum Development and Training ($4,976)
  • Living Classroom - Crittenden Middle School Native Plant Garden ($5,000)
  • Living Classroom - Development and Implementation of “Sustainable Soil and Water” Lesson ($5,000)
  • Smart Yards Education Foundation - Earth Day Water Community Awareness ($5,000)
  • Trout Unlimited - Little Arthur Creek Streamflow Stewardship Phase 2 Planning Project ($5,000)
  • Stanford Conservation Program - Matadero Creek Cape Ivy Removal ($5,000)
  • Stanford Conservation Program - Native Hedgerow Planting as Fencing Alternative and Restoration Product in Permanent Conservation Easement ($5,000)
  • Stanford Conservation Program - Restoring Native Understory Plant Community in support of biodiversity, improved water quality, and California tiger salamanders ($5,000)
  • Stanford Conservation Program - Riparian Tree Planting to Expand Canopy Cover in Stream Supporting CA Red-legged Frog ($5,000)
  • Grassroots Ecology - Nursery Phytosanitation Education and Equipment Upgrade ($5,000)
  • Veggielution - Eastside Explorers Watershed Curriculum ($5,000)
  • San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory - California Gull Predator Surveys ($3,000)
  • San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory - Waterbird Monitoring in Santa Clara Salt Ponds ($5,000)
  • Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful - Santa Clara Park BioBlitz Events ($5,000)

Completed D3 Grant Projects:

  1. Working Partnerships completed the Coyote Creek Invasive Plant Removal and Revegetation Project. Working Partnerships received a $24,750 grant to prepare an implementation plan to remove harmful invasive plants and revegetate natural plants in areas along Coyote Creek and to find an employer of record to manage the recruitment and selection of homeless individuals to perform the work.

    As a result of the project, the Grantee identified and completed mapping of invasive plants species in 6 acres of private land along Coyote Creek and secured the California Conservation Corps as the employer of record to manage recruitment, selection, and social support for a crew of 10 homeless or disadvantaged youth.
  2. Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz (RCD Santa Cruz) completed the Uvas Creek Steelhead Spawning Habitat Enhancement Project. RCD Santa Cruz was funded $215,579 to improve riparian and in-channel habitats in multiple locations within a 3.7 mile reach below Uvas Dam.

    RCD Santa Cruz removed and disposed of approximately 175 acacia trees (a non-native, evergreen species which create creek habitat limitations) and restored 1,800 linear feet of riparian habitat.
  3. Acterra Stewardship received $126,300 for the Foothills Park Riparian Enhancement Project. The project monitored, restored, and enriched wildlife habitat along the Park’s 4 miles of riparian corridor in the upper San Francisquito watershed.

    The project engaged more than 1,300 community members through 94 volunteer events, removed 2,755 linear feet of invasive plants, installed 1,025 native plants, and monitored 4 miles of creek during a 21 sediment monitoring days.
  4. Acterra Stewardship – McClellan Ranch: Acterra Stewardship received $164,200 for the McClellan Ranch Preserve Meadow Enhancement Project to remove invasive plants and establish native plants within a riparian meadow adjacent to Stevens Creek in Cupertino.

    The project provided 3 years of vegetation survey data showing a decrease in invasive plant population. Approximately 12,000 native plants were installed and included 30 different types of plants which has increased the habitat value and diversity. Acterra Stewardship hosted 352 volunteer events and engaged more than 3,500 community members. 
  5. Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (SCCOSA) received $256,276 for the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve South Valley Meadow Restoration Project. The grant allowed SCCOSA to restore hydraulic function to an 8.5-acre seasonal wet meadow and provide enhancements to the area. 

    Over 900 feet of incised channel were raised and widened to reduce storm water runoff and improve water capture. A 0.1-acre pond was created and has been determined by wildlife expert to be a suitable habitat for California tiger salamander. Parts of the 8.5-acre meadow were re-contoured and planted with native plant species.       
  6. Friends of Stevens Creek Trail received $52,162 for the Stevens Creek Steelhead Project to conduct feasible measures to remediate the fish migration impediments at eight locations along the length of Stevens Creek. The project identified potential engineering solutions to fish passage impediments and provided hydraulic analysis, conceptual drawings, and estimated costs for projects at select locations. The grantee conducted two workshops to present the proposed solutions with stakeholders and community members.

    Santa Clara Valley Chapter of CA Native Plant Society (CNPS) received $50,574 for the Nursery Renovation Project to renovate an existing plant nursery and develop instructional/training videos. Earlier this year, CNPS terminated the contract agreement by informing the District the grant funds were no longer required since other funding sources were used to complete the project. The unused amount of $50,574 reverts into the reserves for future grant allocation.


Updated July 2018

For more information:

Stream Corridor Priority Plans

Grants and Partnerships

Environmental & Community Benefits

Key Performance Indicators for the Safe, Clean Water Program

  1. Develop 5 Stream Corridor Priority Plans to prioritize stream restoration activities.

  2. Provide 7 grant cycles and additional partnerships for $21 million that follow pre-established criteria related to the creation or restoration of wetlands, riparian habitat, and favorable stream conditions for fisheries and wildlife, and providing new public access to trails.


  • Enhances creek and bay ecosystems

  • Improves fish passage and habitat

  • Expands trail and open space access

  • Leverages community funding through grants

  • Increases collaborations and partnerships for stewardship activities with cities, the county, nonprofit organizations, schools and other stakeholders

Geographic Area of Benefit 


History & Background

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.