Back to top

Stream Maintenance Program

About This Project

As part of its Stream Maintenance Program (SMP), the Santa Clara Valley Water District (Valley Water) plans to perform work along creeks across Santa Clara County this summer. Under the SMP, work occurs annually to improve the environment, reduce the risk of flooding and keep our communities safe. For decades, our crews have been trekking into streams to remove sediment build-up, manage vegetation, clear trash and debris, and stabilize banks that have eroded during high water flows. Work to reduce fire danger continues to be important, especially given the county’s extreme drought conditions and the ongoing challenges of climate change. The SMP ensures streams with completed flood protection projects continue to function as designed to protect homes and businesses.

Valley Water owns and manages about 275 miles of streams. Each year, portions of these streams are inspected and prioritized for maintenance projects. 

  • Under the "News and Updates" tab below, you'll find information on this year's projects.
  • Under the "Reports and Document" tab below, you'll find various notices, factsheets and documents related to SMP. 
  • Under the "Environmental and Community Benefits" and "History and Backgrounds" tabs below, you'll find more background about the program. 

For more information about the program or projects, you can also contact Jose Villarreal at 408-630-2879 or [email protected]. 

Example stream maintenance work
Datapoints
Schedule
Mid-June to Mid-October
Work Days
Mon-Fri (Some Sat. work may be necessary)
Work Hours
Between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. (work before 8 a.m. limited to prep activities)
Location
Countywide
Funding
Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program (Partial)
News and UpdatesNews and Updates
Reports and DocumentsReports and Documents
Environmental and Community BenefitsEnvironmental and Community Benefits
History and BackgroundHistory and Background
News & Updates

2022 Projects*

2022 Stream Maintenance Program Projects Countywide Notice 

The projects listed here are part of this season’s proposed work and are the most significant anticipated work. Existing work and minor work are not included in this listing. Pending state and federal regulatory approvals, work on Stream Maintenance Program projects will continue through Oct. 15. In some instances, Valley Water may request and receive work extensions beyond Oct. 15 to complete projects. Other work including minor maintenance, riparian planting, invasive plant removal, and other vegetation management projects can occur year-round. A copy of this year's general program notice and separate project notices for specific projects can be found under the "Reports and Documents" tab. 

What to expect 

Work on SMP projects typically occurs Monday through Friday, but Saturday work may be necessary to complete some projects. Work hours are set by local city ordinances, starting between 7 a.m. and generally ending by 5 p.m. Our crews strive to be courteous to all neighbors. Any work occurring before 8 a.m. will be limited to preparation activities with minimal noise impact.

Potential Types of Stream Maintenance Program Work

Bank protection
High and sustained water flows can cause extensive damage to creek banks, eroding existing flood protection improvements and natural elements. Repairing creek banks also help protect neighboring homes and property from damage.

Sediment removal

Sediment and debris washed downstream can restrict water flow in some areas. During a heavy storm, these restricted flow areas could cause water to back up, which can increase the risk of flooding. Crews remove sediment to allow stormwater to flow through the creeks as designed. To the extent possible, Valley Water reuses sediment for environmental purposes and to reduce disposal costs.

Vegetation management
Valley Water crews manage over 3,000 acres of instream and upland vegetation each year. Selective removal of instream vegetation maintains flow conveyance in streams and riparian corridors. Managing upland vegetation restores maintenance access and maintains fire code compliance given the county’s drought conditions and ongoing challenges of climate change. Valley Water’s vegetation management work is crucial in helping to reduce fire risk.  

Mitigation
Valley Water implements mitigation projects to offset impacts associated with some of the bank protection, sediment removal, and vegetation management work. Mitigation projects can include:

  • Riparian planting: Enhances and establishes habitat for birds, amphibians, fish, and other terrestrial and aquatic species living in creek corridors to compensate for the unavoidable riparian impacts created by sediment removal, bank protection, and vegetation management activities. Invasive and non-native annuals and grasses that compete with native plants are removed. Vegetation that meets the habitat needs of the project site with the highest likelihood of surviving and thriving is planted. Valley Water will monitor and maintain the area for five to seven years to ensure the project is successful.
  • Invasive plant management: Plant species such as Algerian ivy, Cape ivy, Himalayan blackberry, tree of heaven, and giant reed, are removed because they present a significant threat to the ecosystem. These plants spread aggressively and can negatively alter wildlife patterns, soil stability, and water quality. Invasive plants can increase the risk of flooding and fire danger, undermine structural assets, and obstruct access to roads, levees, and trails.
  • Instream habitat improvement: Work is done to address the impacts of removing sediment and large woody debris from certain streams. This can include adding rocks and logs or root wads to the creek to create higher quality habitat for fish and other species.
  • Compensatory mitigation: Is the restoration, establishment, enhancement, or preservation of natural resources to replace resources impacted by maintenance activities. In addition to the above work types, compensatory mitigation may include restoring creek banks or floodplains impacted by illegal excavations.

*The information on this page has been provided by Valley Water staff for SMP work anticipated to be conducted this year. While Valley Water will make every effort to undertake these projects, work may not be conducted for multiple reasons, including delays in receipt of regulatory agencies’ approvals, wildlife considerations, unforeseen site conditions, and unavailability of resources, among other circumstances.

#

Location Project Site** Project Type(s) Current Status
1 Campbell, Los Gatos Los Gatos Creek Blossom Hill Road to
Campbell Avenue
Vegetation Management  
2 Cupertino Regnart Creek downstream of Antoinette Drive
Bank Repair Completed
3 Cupertino Regnart Creek upstream of Antoinette Drive Bank Repair  
4 Gilroy Llagas Creek downstream of Bloomfield Avenue Bank Repair  
5 Gilroy Jones Creek downstream of Highway 152 Sediment Removal  
6 Gilroy Uvas Creek upstream of Miller Avenue Mitigation Completed
7 Los Altos Stevens Creek downstream of Fremont Avenue Mitigation  
8 Los Gatos Ross Creek downstream of Camino del Cerro Bank Repair  
9 Los Gatos Smith Creek upstream of Granada Way Mitigation  
10 Milpitas Piedmont Creek upstream of Vista Way Multiple types  
11 Milpitas Coyote Creek upstream of McCarthy Boulevard Bank Repair In progress
(trail impact)
12 Milpitas Coyote Creek upstream of McCarthy Boulevard Mitigation  
13 Mountain View Stevens Creek upstream of Middlefield Road Bank Repair In progress
14 Mountain View Stevens Creek upstream of Middlefield Road Sediment Removal In progress
15 Palo Alto Matadero Creek downstream of Louis Road Sediment Removal In progress
16 Palo Alto Adobe Creek at Baylands Sediment Removal  
17 San Jose Guadalupe River downstream of US Highway 101 Sediment Removal Completed
18 San Jose Guadalupe River upstream of Coleman Avenue

Sediment Removal

In progress
(trail impact)

19 San Jose Canoas Creek downstream of Nightingale Drive Bank Repair In progress
20 San Jose Canoas Creek upstream of Hillsdale Avenue
(Site 1)
Bank Repair

 

21 San Jose Canoas Creek upstream of Hillsdale Avenue
(Site 2)
Bank Repair  
22 San Jose Canoas Creek downstream of Albion Drive Bank Repair  
23 San Jose Ross Creek downstream of Leigh Avenue Bank Repair Completed
24 San Jose Lower Silver Creek upstream and downstream of Story Road Sediment Removal  
25 San Jose Berryessa Creek downstream of Piedmont Road Sediment Removal  
26 San Jose Miguelita Creek downstream of Jackson Avenue Bank Repair  
27 San Jose Sierra Creek upstream of Knights Bridge Road Bank Repair  
28 San Jose Norwood Creek downstream of White Road Bank Repair  
29 San Jose Calabazas Creek downstream of Highway 85 Mitigation  
30 San Jose Berryessa Creek upstream of Morrill Avenue Mitigation  
31 San Jose

Upper Penitencia Creek upstream of Piedmont Road to Noble Avenue

Mitigation  
32 San Jose Alamitos Creek upstream Almaden Lake Vegetation Management  
33 San Jose Alamitos Creek Camden Ave to Greystone Creek confluence Vegetation Management  
34 Santa Clara San Tomas Aquino Creek downstream of Agnew Road Sediment Removal  
35 Santa Clara Calabazas Creek downstream of Highway 237 Bank Repair  
36 Santa Clara Guadalupe River upstream of Tasman Drive Bank Repair  
37 Santa Clara Guadalupe River downstream of Montague Expressway Sediment Removal Completed
38 Saratoga Calabazas Creek downstream of Comer Drive Sediment Removal Completed
39 Saratoga Calabazas Creek downstream of Union Pacific Railroad Mitigation  
40 San Jose Guadalupe River Taylor Street to Grant Street Vegetation Management In progress
41 Mountain View/Cupertino Stevens Creek La Avenida to Crittenden Vegetation Management In progress
42 San Jose Guadalupe River Tasman to 101 Vegetation Management  

 

 

Information on trail impacts is available here.

**For Santa Clara County creeks that flow toward Monterey Bay (i.e., creeks in the Pajaro Watershed, including Uvas Creek and Llagas Creeks, and their tributaries), in general, the terms, “upstream of” and “downstream of” can be further understood as “north of” and “south of”, respectively. For Santa Clara County creeks that flow toward San Francisco Bay (i.e., creeks not in the Pajaro Watershed), in general, the terms, “upstream of” and “downstream of” can be further understood as “south of” and “north of”, respectively. Learn more about watersheds here.

 

Reports & Documents
Current Project Notices
Reports & Documents
Factsheets
Misc. Links 
Previous Project Notices

 

Thumbnail
Los Gatos Creek - Before vegetation removal
Thumbnail
Los Gatos Creek - During vegetation removal
Thumbnail
Los Gatos Creek - After vegetation removal

 

Environmental & Community Benefits

Valley Water's Stream Maintenance Program (SMP) ensures flood protection projects continue to function as designed to protect homes and businesses along water district streams.

Thanks to various flood protection projects completed by Valley Water, some homes and businesses have been removed from FEMA-designated flood zones, and in addition to flood risk reduction activities, save residents countywide over $2 million in flood insurance premiums each year. Once those flood protection projects are completed, Valley Water’s Stream Maintenance Program ensures those projects continue to function as designed to protect homes and businesses along water streams.

  • There are more than 800 miles of creeks in Santa Clara County. Valley Water owns 275 miles of streams in the county, but only a portion of these have been modified with flood protection projects. Those are the streams that are maintained by Valley Water.

Valley Water crews regularly inspect stream and bank conditions. Toward the end of the rain season, staff finalize the proposed work plan for the upcoming Stream Maintenance Program work season.

From June to October, after securing state and federal regulatory agencies’ approval of the work plan, our crews trek into streams to remove sediment, manage vegetation, clear trash and debris, and stabilize banks that have been eroded. While the heavy work takes place in the summer, stream maintenance is a year-round effort.

During heavy storms, unruly vegetation and sediment washed down from areas upstream can restrict the flow of water and in some areas, cause a back-up, increasing the risk of flooding. Valley Water monitors known “hot spots” for vegetation and debris buildups and where needed and safe to do so, take action to remove these blockages and reduce the threat of localized flooding.

Stream maintenance work also includes an integrated vegetation management program which provides many benefits. Removal of in-stream vegetation ensures flow conveyance. Upland vegetation management is performed to meet fire code compliance and maintenance access. Native planting and invasive plant removal projects improve the ecological habitat of the riparian ecosystem.

If you observe a problem in any creek in our service area, you can report it on our "Access Valley Water" online customer request and information system. This is the best way to alert our field crews of downed branches, eroding banks, trash, graffiti or overgrown vegetation.

Keep debris and trash out of our streams: If you see trash polluting a creek, pond or reservoir, call 1(888) 510-5151.

 

Thumbnail
Before erosion repair
Thumbnail
After erosion repair

 

History & Background

YOUR INVESTMENT AT WORK

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 that was approved in 2012. The renewed program identifies the following six key community priorities, established with tens of thousands of residents and stakeholders:

Priority D provides funding for Valley Water to conduct mitigation site maintenance on native plant revegetation projects in creeks where we have jurisdiction to complete work. Priority F provides funding for Valley Water to conduct vegetation management and sediment removal projects for flow conveyance in creeks where we have jurisdiction or approval to complete work. The funding for this work is critical as it helps to enhance and establish habitat for wildlife and reduce flood risks to our communities. Thank you for
your investment.

Details on the renewed Safe, Clean Water Program can be found at safecleanwater.org. The renewed Safe, Clean Water program will become effective starting on July 1, 2021.

Thumbnail
Before and after sediment removal on Berryessa Creek