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D4: Fish Habitat and Passage Improvement*

About This Project

>> Information about the Almaden Lake Improvement Project  >>

This project helps restore and maintain healthy steelhead trout populations by improving fish passage and habitat. Possible work sites include Alamitos Creek at Almaden Lake and Ogier Ponds in the Coyote watershed, where man-made creek alterations disrupt fish migration. The project also includes studies of steelhead streams throughout the county to determine where improvements are needed to support spawning, rearing and migration. Funding also pays for the development of a program to use large woody debris to create fish habitat.


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

Almaden Lake
On Target
Start FY 2014 / Finish FY 2023
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($29.5 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: Complete planning and design for 2 creek/lake separations.

  • Site 1: Almaden Lake - Public review of the draft EIR for the Almaden Lake Project is expected by late Spring 2019. 

  • Site 2: Ogier Ponds - In October 2018, the Board approved a budget adjustment to provide Safe, Clean Water funds for completion of a planning study.  The Board directed staff to work with the landowner, Santa Clara County Parks, to develop a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to begin the planning study.  The MOA is currently awaiting County Parks review and approval.

KPI #2: Construct 1 creek/lake separation project in partnership with local agencies. 

  • Currently 2 projects are in the planning phase and 1 will receive construction funding from the Safe, Clean Water Program. 

KPI #3: Use $6 million for fish passage improvements. 

  • Valley Water completed final design for the Bolsa Road Fish Passage Project. The Project has been advertised for bids since May 16, 2019.  Bids for construction of the Project are scheduled to be opened on June 12, 2019.  The recommendation for the award of the construction contract will be on the June 25, 2019 Board meeting.   The construction of the Project will be completed by the end of 2019.

  • The City of San José has completed a feasibility study related to the removal of the Singleton Road fish passage barrier. Valley Water is working on a partnership agreement with City of San José to provide support for City's effort to remove the Singleton Road Bridge and associated channel restoration. 

  • The Evelyn Bridge Fish Passage within Stevens Creek completed construction on November 21, 2015.

KPI #4: Conduct study of all major steelhead streams in the county to identify priority locations for installation of large wood debris and gravel as appropriate.  

  • Valley Water has completed the Phase 1 report which includes project priority criteria and recommends potential project sites on 8 major Steelhead Trout streams. Valley Water will begin the phase 2 study soon, which will examine the remaining streams. Click here to view the Phase 1 Report.

KPI #5: Install large woody debris and/or gravel at a minimum of 5 sites (1 per each 5 major watersheds). 

  • Out of the Phase 1 study recommended priority locations, the Los Gatos Creek location just downstream of Highway 17 has been selected for construction. Initially planned for construction in summer 2018, the Stream Maintenance Program (SMP) will not be able to construct this project until summer 2019 due to difficulties in material and right-of-way acquisition. This location is outside regulatory floodway and adequate freeboard exists; no significant increases in flood risks due to addition of gravel and large woody debris is anticipated based on the hydraulic analysis conducted.   

Updated June 2019 

For more information:

Creek/Lake Separations

Fish Passage Improvements

Large Woody Debris


Environmental & Community Benefits

>> Information about the Almaden Lake Improvement Project >> 

Key Performance Indicators

  1. Complete planning and design for 2 creek/lake separations.

  2. Construct 1 creek/lake separation project in partnership with local agencies.

  3. Use $6 million for fish passage improvements.

  4. Conduct study of all major steelhead streams in the county to identify priority locations for installation of large woody debris and gravel as appropriate.

  5. Install large woody debris and/or gravel at a minimum of 5 sites (1 per each of 5 major watersheds).


  • Improves spawning and rearing habitat within the Coyote, Guadalupe and other watersheds

  • Improves steelhead trout habitat

  • Helps provide required mitigation for environmental impacts of reservoir and recharge operations and for countywide Stream Maintenance Program

Geographic Area of Benefit


History & Background

>> Information about the Almaden Lake Improvement 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, 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.

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 Valley Water website.