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Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project

About This Project

The completed Lower Penitencia Creek Flood Improvements Project provides continued flood protection for residents and businesses along the one-mile project area from San Andreas Drive to the Coyote Creek confluence. The project was done in conjunction with improvements made to Upper Berryessa Creek, Lower Berryessa Creek, and Calera Creek to reduce flood risks. This project increased Lower Penitencia Creek’s capacity to safely carry stormwater away and protect surrounding homes and businesses from flooding. The completed project allows Valley Water to continue providing flood protection from a 100-year storm, a storm event with a 1-percent chance of occurring in any given year.  

(Download Project Fact Sheet)

Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project Map
On Target
Milpitas, CA
Completed Summer 2023
Valley Water's Watershed Stream Stewardship Fund and California Department of Water Resources Proposition 1E grant ($27 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

To learn more about the completed project, click here to view the project shell with a map of the area and benefits.

Completed flood protection improvement on Lower Penitencia Creek downstream of California Circle.
Installed sheet piles, which serve as flood walls to protect the surrounding community from flooding, on the west bank of Lower Penitencia Creek.
Lower Penitenica Creek upstream of California Circle and Milmont Ave. The new trail sits on the west bank of the creek.

For more information: 

Reports & Documents

Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project - Final Environmental Impact Report (November 2017)

Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project - PLANNING STUDY REPORT - May 2016

Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project - Staff Recommended Alternative Report - September 2015

Lower Penitencia Creek Improvements Project - Problem Definition and Refined Objectives Report - July 2013

Lower Berryessa Creek Program Final Environmental Impact Report - December 2011

Valley Water held public meetings to obtain input on the alternatives and EIR

Project alternatives presented to the community in 2014:

Community update and Draft Environmental Impact Report meeting from May 2017:

Valley Water held an informational virtual meeting to provide neighbors an update on the project, its benefits, and what to expect during construction. Here are the meeting materials:

- Agenda 

- Presentation slides

- Meeting recording 

Environmental & Community Benefits

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

                Milpitas, CA

History & Background

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.

Lower Penitencia Creek in Milpitas