Valley Water is dedicated to keeping residents and businesses safe through its flood protection programs. The Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project will provide 100-year flood protection to approximately 1,820 homes, schools, and businesses in Milpitas.
When complete, the Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project will provide new floodwalls, improved levees, and widened creek channels to accommodate high flows. This is in addition to enhanced and enlarged tidal and freshwater wetlands and riparian habitats.
The Calera Creek Flood Protection Project is part of the larger collection of flood protection improvements under the Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project.
Three flood protection sections of Lower Berryessa Creek and Calera Creek Completed
Phase 1 (Completed)
This phase stretches from the confluence at Lower Penitencia Creek to Abel Street. The flood protection improvements include earthen levees on the east and north sides of the creek and 6-to-9-foot concrete floodwalls on the west and south sides of the creek. Revegetation of freshwater wetlands was established within the creek channel. Construction of Phase 1 was completed in December 2016.
Phase 2, Lower Berryessa (Completed)
This phase has two sections. The first section of Phase 2 is along Lower Berryessa Creek, stretching from Abel Street to Calaveras Boulevard. The flood protection improvements for this section included improved earthen levees on the north side of the creek and concrete floodwalls on the south side of the creek.
An area for riparian habitat was included in the creek channel. Construction of this section was completed in July 2020.
Phase 2, Calera Creek (Completed)
The second section of Phase 2 is along Calera Creek, stretching from the Lower Berryessa Creek confluence to the drop structure (see map). The flood protection elements of the project were completed in mid-February 2024. The monitoring of the native plants will continue through December 2025 to ensure successful plant establishment.
Phase 3: Tularcitos Creek and Upper Calera Creek
Design for Phase 3 is slated to begin in 2032 and includes Tularcitos Creek and Upper Calera Creek, which are two tributary creeks of Lower Berryessa Creek. Funding options are being explored to pay for the construction cost. Once constructed, this project will provide 1% (100-year event) flood protection to 1,100 parcels affected by Upper Calera Creek from the drop structure upstream of Arizona Avenue upstream to José Higuera Adobe Park, and to an estimated 320 parcels along Tularcitos Creek between its confluence with Berryessa Creek and Interstate 680.
Phase three is funded by the voter-approved Safe, Clean Water, and Natural Flood Protection Program.
Click here to view the project shell with a map of the area, benefits, and timeline.
Updated February 2024.
Past public meeting
Below are the materials from the informational virtual public meeting Valley Water held in 2021 to update neighbors on the project's benefits and what to expect during construction.
Agenda: Lower Calera Creek Agenda
Presentation: Lower Calera Creek Presentation
Public meeting recording: Meeting video
Below is a listing of past neighborhood notices related to this project. Please note that timelines and images may change as the project proceeds toward completion.
- 2019 Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project - Phase 2 Remediation Work Notice (Spring 2019)
- 2019 Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project - Phase 2 Lower Calera Creek Design Update Notice (Summer 2019)
- Lower Berryessa Creek 2018 Pre-construction notice
- Lower Berryessa Creek Project FAQ (Updated August 2018)
- Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
- Addendum (July 2018) Redesign of Reaches A and B of the Lower Calera Creek Element
- Lower Berryessa Creek Fact Sheet
- Calera Creek Fact Sheet
- Tularcitos Creek Fact Sheet
The Santa Clara Valley Water District's Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project, when completed, will protect 2,447 parcels in Milpitas from the threat of a 100-year flood event, which has a 1-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year. The Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project includes both the Upper Berryessa Creek portion and the Lower Berryessa Creek portion.
The Lower Berryessa Creek portion of the project, which includes Calera and Tularcitos creeks, will protect 1,823 properties in Milpitas, between Milpitas High School and E. Calaveras Boulevard (north to south) and the Union Pacific Railroad to Highway 680 (east to west).
The Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project extends approximately 1.7 miles through Milpitas, from its confluence with Lower Penitencia Creek, south to Calaveras Boulevard. The project also includes about 2.1 miles of Calera and Tularcitos creeks. These two smaller creeks are tributaries to Berryessa Creek and must also be modified to prevent water from overflowing their banks. This project will protect vast portions of the City of Milpitas from flood events when complete.
Phase 1 - Completed
This phase stretches along Lower Berryessa Creek, from the confluence at Lower Penitencia Creek to Abel Street. The construction of Phase 1 was completed in December 2016. The flood protection improvements included earthen levees on the east and north sides of the creek. They included concrete floodwalls on the west and south sides of the creek. Revegetation of freshwater wetlands was also established within the creek channel.
Completed floodwall and levee near Gill Memorial Park in Milpitas
Phase 2 - Lower Berryessa Creek (between Abel and Calaveras) completed Summer 2020.
This phase has two segments. The first segment of Phase 2 is along Lower Berryessa Creek, stretching from Abel Street to Calaveras Boulevard. The flood protection improvements for this segment included improved earthen levees on the north side of the creek and concrete floodwalls on the south side of the creek. A riparian habitat area was also included within the creek channel. These major construction activities were completed in 2018. The second segment of Phase 2 is along Calera Creek, stretching from the Lower Berryessa Creek confluence to Milpitas High School. The first section from Milpitas High School to Arizona Avenue was completed in 2021 and included a raised U-frame channel and concrete floodwalls on both banks of the creek. In addition to these flood protection improvements, wetlands with native vegetation were established within the Calera Creek channel.
The flood protection improvements along Lower Berryessa Creek between Abel Street to Calaveras Boulevard were completed in July 2020. The project's final phase of construction on the Calera Creek segment, located between Arizona Avenue past North Milpitas Boulevard to the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) railroad tracks, is expected to be completed by December 2022.
Completed floodwall on Calera Creek downstream of Arizona Avenue
Typical cross-section of Phase 2 channel improvements (facing south)
Phase 3 - Planning
Phase 3 of this project stretches along Upper Calera Creek and Tularcitos Creek. The flood risk reduction options for this phase are currently being studied, and the potential funding sources are being identified. Once this planning phase is completed, Valley Water will obtain the necessary permits from regulatory agencies before starting construction on Phase 3.