The Rancho San Antonio County Park Detention Basin Project is one of the elements of the Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project.
After years of planning and design, the Santa Clara Valley Water District began construction on the flood protection improvements along Permanente Creek. Once completed, the Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project will provide natural flood protection for at least 2,200 properties in Mountain View and Los Altos, create recreational opportunities and enhance the environment.
Construction is expected to be completed by spring 2020.
- A 15-foot deep depression to collect peak storm flows from Permanente Creek
- Planting of native trees
- Removal of non-native trees that compete with native species
- Replacement of existing maintenance bridge
- New restroom facilities
- New enlarged paved parking area with designated equestrian spaces
- Enhances many acres of wildlife habitat
- Provides flood protection for thousands of homes and businesses in Mountain View and Los Altos, saving residents thousands of dollars on flood insurance each year
- Reduces construction impacts to downstream residential and business areas
- Reduces flow rates, allowing for potential riparian restoration downstream
Work on the flood basin reaches 80 percent completion
Construction resumed on Rancho San Antonio County Park Flood Detention Basin portion of the Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project.
During initial construction activities, we unexpectedly encountered sensitive environmental resources and halted construction to protect these resources and comply with federal and state environmental regulations. Together, Valley Water and the United States Army Corps of Engineers have finalized a plan to manage ongoing construction. The Army Corps reauthorized the Rancho San Antonio project and we have restarted work on this important flood protection project.
Work on the project reached 80% completion before it was paused. Work on the bathrooms and parking lot continued during this pause and are now complete. The Rancho San Antonio portion of the larger Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project is expected to be complete by spring 2020.
The other portions of the project include the McKelvey Park Flood Detention Basin and improvements along Permanente and Hale creeks. McKelvey Park is anticipated to be completed later this summer 2019 and Permanente and Hale creeks were completed in December 2018.
The Hammond-Snyder Loop Trail is popular with many hiking, bicycling, and equestrian users. However, the southwestern portion of the trail which is located in the construction zone will remain closed through spring 2020, when the project is expected to be completed. Pedestrians can complete a portion of the Hammond-Snyder Loop Trail by utilizing Cristo Rey Drive, Canyon Oak Way and Manzanita Court as a loop connection between the open sections of the trail. Please use caution when walking on the sidewalk and mindful of noise when using Canyon Oak Way and Manzanita Court.
Valley Water and the project's contractor are working with the County of Santa Clara Parks and Recreation Department and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District to minimize impacts to park users. The other trails remain open for recreational use.
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Updated July 2019
Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (November 2012)
Addendums to the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report
What to expect during construction
The Santa Clara Valley Water District, Santa Clara County Parks and MidPeninsula Regional Open Space District are working together to minimize construction impacts as much as practical and in accordance with local ordinances. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation as we embark on this important flood protection project.
- Regular construction work hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Work is scheduled Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays.
- The South Meadow parking lot will be open throughout construction. The new, expanded parking lot and restroom will be built first, slightly north of the existing parking lot. Upon completion of the new facilities, the existing parking lot will be closed.
- Various parts of the South Meadow and Hammond-Snyder Loop Trails will be closed during construction. Trail accessibility signage will be installed at least two weeks in advance of any closures.
- A large amount of dirt will be removed from the site. The contractor will construct a 15-foot wide road behind the Gate of Heaven Cemetery for the haul trucks. The trucks will drive on the Hammond-Snyder trail to Stevens Creek Boulevard, to Foothill Boulevard, then onto I-280 (to avoid Cristo Rey Drive).
- A visual screening fence will be installed around the construction areas.
- Hundreds of native trees and removal of non-native trees that compete with native species along the creek.
- Safety of the community and our employees is a priority. Barricades, railings, lights, fences and other warning devices will be used for public safety and convenience.
What is a flood detention area?
Flood protection methods can include berms around buildings, widening channels, raising floodwalls, elevating structures and roadways, and/or constructing a bypass channel. In areas where development limits widening the creek or raising floodwalls, flood storage basins are used to temporarily divert and store floodwaters until a major storm passes.
The Rancho San Antonio detention areas will be approximately 12 acres in size and 15 feet deep with mild side slopes, contoured to the surrounding area and replaced with native trees and grass. Flood flows would inundate the site very rarely and quickly drain away. A 25-year flood, which has a 4 percent chance of occurring in any given year, would result in about one foot of water in the detention area that would drain away in hours. A 100-year storm, which has a 1 percent chance of occurring in any given year, would fill the area and drain in one to four days.
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Flooding History and Project Background
Permanente Creek has a history of flooding, having experienced major flooding in 1862, 1911, 1940, 1950, 1952, 1955, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1995 and 1998. Flooding can result in millions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and schools. In addition, disruption to businesses and transportation networks can result in significant loss of productivity and revenue. One of the project’s goals is to avoid utility and transportation shutdowns and prevent potential damages that could exceed $48 million (1999 value).
Each winter, thousands of households, schools and businesses in Mountain View and Los Altos are susceptible to flooding from Permanente Creek during a major storm. The Santa Clara Valley Water District has initiated planning of a flood-protection project along 10.6 miles of Permanente Creek, from San Francisco Bay’s southwest shoreline through Mountain View to Foothill Expressway in Los Altos.
The Permanente Creek Flood Protection Project offers a tremendous opportunity for a multi-purpose project to improve flood protection, create recreational opportunities and enhance the environment. The District worked with the cities and the community to design the most suitable alternative.
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, the District 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.