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D4: Fish Habitat and Passage Improvement*

About This Project

>> Click Here for Further Information about the Almaden Lake Improvement Project >>

This project helps restore and maintain healthy fish populations, especially steelhead, by improving fish passage and habitat. Sites may include Alamitos Creek at Almaden Lake and County of Santa Clara-owned Ogier Ponds, where humanmade creek alterations disrupt fish migration. Project D4, which includes coordinating and partnering with other external parties, incorporates studies of streams throughout the county to determine what and where habitat improvements will most benefit steelhead. These studies can be used by regional partners to implement complementary habitat enhancements.

The project also continues funding to place instream gravel, boulders, large wood, or other features to enhance fish habitat at appropriate locations. By adding natural stream features such as large wood, we can create habitat to provide refuge during fish migration, prolonged drought, or extreme rainfall events. Additionally, habitat restoration can improve ecosystem function and increase resiliency to climate change. By restoring natural functions, issues such as water quality may be less exacerbated and native species can continue to flourish and adapt.

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

Almaden Lake
Start FY 2022 / Finish FY 2036
Safe, Clean Water Fund ($71.2 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 one (1) creek/lake separation.

  • Ogier Ponds - A Memorandum of Agreement to begin the planning study is being finalized with the landowner, Santa Clara County Parks.

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

  • Almaden Lake

    • The Valley Water Board of Directors certified the final Environmental Impact Report on May 11, 2021. Click here to read the report.
    • The Board approved the Almaden Lake Project as the creek/lake separation project to be constructed under Project D4. With approval of the project to be constructed, staff will be submitting resource agency permit applications.
    • In FY21, Valley Water staff completed the 60% design plans,  specifications, and cost estimate.  
    • Staff continues to work with City of San José on the project design and the new park area.  Staff will continue to proceed to 90% and 100%  design. Pending permit acquisition, construction would start in FY22.


Updated June 2021

For more information:

Creek/Lake Separations

Fish Passage Improvements

Large Woody Debris


Environmental & Community Benefits

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Key Performance Indicators (FY22-36)

  1. Complete planning and design for one (1) creek/lake separations.

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

  3. Use $8 million for fish passage improvements by June 30, 2028.

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

  5. Complete five (5) habitat enhancement projects based on studies that identify high priority locations for large wood, boulders, gravel, and/or other habitat enhancement features.


  • Improves habitat and passage for steelhead and other native fish within Santa Clara County watersheds

  • Contributes to required mitigation for environmental impacts of reservoir and recharge operations and countywide Stream Maintenance Program

  • Maintains investment in earlier habitat improvements 

  • Addresses climate change

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 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.