The Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project is located within the City of Milpitas. The project’s study limit extends approximately one mile from the north at its confluence with Coyote Creek to the south at San Andreas Drive. (Download Project Fact Sheet)
The one-mile study limit is indicated on the map to the right. This area of creek receives some of its water from Berryessa Creek. Construction has begun on improvements to Berryessa Creek that will bring more creek flows into this one mile stretch of creek. Lower Penitencia Creek must be able to carry this increased flow.
In its current condition, Lower Penitencia Creek does not have the capacity to convey the increased flow (the future one-percent flood event - also known as the 100 year event*). This project is necessary to maintain the current existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accreditation along the east levee located between California Circle and Berryessa Creek. At the completion of the project improvements for the Lower Penitencia and Berryessa Creek Projects, the Santa Clara Valley Water District will update the FEMA flood insurance maps accordingly.
*A 100-year flood, sometimes called a one-percent flood event, is a rare and large storm event which has a 1-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year.
Beginning later this week, you may notice some nearby activity as Valley Water will be removing vegetation in preparation for the Lower Penitencia Creek Flood Improvements Project, which is scheduled to begin construction in June 2021.
Although disruptions to you are not anticipated, our crews will be working within our sections of the project, located from Milmont Drive downstream to Highway 880 in Milpitas, during the weekdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The vegetation work is anticipated to last three days. Crews will also be conducting bird and nesting assessments, which will continue through the start of project construction. As crews complete this work, please use caution and follow all safety signage when using the trail along Lower Penitencia Creek.
Future Informational Meeting
The Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project is currently in the final design phase. The anticipated construction start date is June 2021. Valley Water will host a pre-construction virtual public meeting to provide you more project details. Staff will provide an informational update, identify project benefits and what to expect during construction. Please signup to receive details on this forthcoming meeting.
- Permits have been received from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Valley Water is working on right-of-way acquisitions necessary for project construction. Valley Water anticipates completing the right-of-way acquisition as well as encroachment permits and temporary construction easements from Caltrans and City of Milpitas by late 2020.
- The Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project is final and available for viewing under Reports and Documents.
Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project - Final Environmental Impact Report (November 2017)
Valley Water held public meetings to obtain input on the alternatives and EIR
Project alternatives presented to the community in 2014:
- PowerPoint presentation [PDF]
- Responses to questions raised at June 2014 community meeting [PDF]
- Video recording of meeting
Community update and Draft Environmental Impact Report meeting from May 2017:
The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project, when completed, will increase the channel capacity to carry increased water flows from the Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project.
- Maintain existing Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accreditation along the east levee located between California Circle and Berryessa Creek
- Minimize the need for seasonal removal of sediment and non-woody vegetation, which minimizes future maintenance costs
- Enhances stream habitat
- Creates additional wetlands
Geographic Area of Benefit
Lower Penitencia Creek channel improvements were constructed in 1955, 1962, 1965, and in the early 1980's. The existing channel within the project's reach was improved at multiple locations in the 1980s. The channel improvements consisted of various modifications to the creek to increase capacity. In the reaches north of the confluence with Lower Berryessa Creek, the channel was widened and levees were raised .
This project will prevent flooding from the channel caused by future larger flows from Berryessa Creek.*
* Flooding in nearby areas caused by another creek will be addressed in a separate project.