Preferred project: A federal-state-local partnership
This project continues a Clean, Safe Creeks project in partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the state to plan, design, and construct improvements along 13.9 miles of channel. The project extends from Buena Vista Avenue to Wright Avenue, including West Little Llagas Creek in downtown Morgan Hill. The federally authorized preferred project protects the urban area of Morgan Hill from a 1% (or 100-year) flood, and reduces the frequency of flooding in surrounding areas. Construction includes channel modifications and replacement of road crossings. The District continues to work with Congress to aggressively pursue federal funds to bring this project to full fruition. In 2012, project limits were extended 2,700 feet upstream to Llagas Road to address public concerns.
Upper Llagas Creek Flood Protection: Progress and next construction activities
Phase 1 of the Upper Llagas Creek Flood Protection Project is progressing and preparing its first full season of construction starting in May 2020. This Project is partially funded by our Safe, Clean Water initiative, which helps us care for our waterways and provide flood protection to homes, schools and businesses.
Completed during the first season of work was the removal of vegetation, concrete rubble, debris and trash, and destruction of monitoring wells, installation of bat boxes and fencing, removal of 12.5 acres of invasive blackberry at Lake Silveira and excavation to restore 2,000 linear feet of Llagas Creek from Lake Silveira towards Monterey Highway.
If you are familiar with the site, you may recall piles and pieces of concrete near Lake Silveira. In the early to late 1970s Lake Silveira was an active quarry and presumably because of those operations, there was a significant amount of abandoned concrete rubble dispersed on and adjacent to Llagas Creek. Valley Water has removed the rubble as we prepare to restore the site to a more natural area while enhancing the environmental habitat.
Here are some of construction activities you will likely witness in May through the end of October 2020:
- Widening and deepening existing Llagas Creek to increase its capacity to carry storm water;
- Dewatering of Lake Silveira;
- Placement of soil material within the dewatered lake to create a wetlands with islands to provide habitat and refuge for wildlife;
- Installation of new replacement sewer line along Monterey Road below Llagas Creek;
- Preparation for thousands of native plants to be installed in fall/winter 2020.
The dewatering of Lake Silveira is the first step to converting the site to a wetlands for birds, frogs, turtles, and other wildlife. The site will also be planted with native plants to help support the area’s natural environment and wildlife habitat.
We continue to collaborate with the City of Morgan Hill as they craft plans to develop the site for open space and recreational uses once Phase 1 of the flood protection project is completed. The work is an example of Valley Water’s commitment to restore wildlife habitat and provide open space for public access
Valley Water Begins Project Construction (from September 2019)
In September 2019, Valley Water began construction of Phase 1 (Reaches 4 and 7a, portion of Reach 5, and Lake Silveira). Work for this phase consists of channel widening and deepening, instream improvements for wildlife and habitat, and revegetation.
The project will be constructed in several phases with each phase having specific sections (referred to as reaches on the map) where the proposed improvements will occur. With the completion of both Phase 1 and Phase 2, the project will provide 100-year level of flood protection to urban areas of Morgan Hill in Reaches 7 and 8, 10-year for Reach 14, and no induced flooding due to creek modifications on Reaches 4, 5, and 6. For a 100-year level of flood protection, this means Llagas Creek should be able to withstand flooding in the event of a large and rare storm event which has a one-in-100 (1 percent) chance of occurring in any given year.
Phase 2A: (portion of Reach 8) Construct approximately 2,300 linear feet of a horseshoe-shaped underground tunnel 14-foot x 10 foot and approximately 1,600 linear feet of 10 ft x 9 ft twin Reinforced Concrete Box Culverts (RCBs) upstream and downstream of the proposed tunnel to carry high water flows. Low flows will remain within the existing creek that winds through downtown Morgan Hill in Reach 8. Construction is expected to take 2.5 years and will include traffic control, detours, utility coordination and relocation, and public outreach. Phase 2A is anticipated to be advertised for construction in June 2020 with construction to begin in September 2020.
Phase 2B: (portion of Reach 5, Reach 6, Reach 7b, portion of Reach 8, Reach 14) Construct improvements on approximately 8 miles of Upper Llagas Creek, from US 101 to Llagas Road, to provide an increased level of flood protection with adequate freeboard. Construction will include creek widening and deepening, bridge/culvert construction, traffic control, utility coordination and relocation, construction of maintenance roads, and stable channel, with habitat enhancements. Construction is expected to take 2.5 years, followed by a 3-year plant establishment period. Phase 2B will be advertised for construction when funding is determined.
The Project requires purchasing approximately 105 parcels (76 permanent/29 temporary) from private or public agency owners. Approximately 100 of these permanent acquisitions have been acquired to date with the remaining parcels, including temporary construction rights, to be acquired by December 2020.
The latest Upper Llagas Creek project mailer is available for viewing.
Project brochure and inserts for Phase 1:
Updated March 2020
Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, Valley Water, as the lead agency for the Project, has prepared a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) to evaluate environmental impacts of the proposed Project
- Final Environmental Impact Report
- Draft Environmental Impact Report, May 19, 2014
Additional reports related to the Project can be found by clicking on the link below:
- Geotechnical Report (2006)
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Site Characterization Report (2012)
- Reach 4 and 5 Limited Phase II ESA (2003)
- Reach 4, 5, 6, and 7B – Phase I ESA Vol 1 (2003)
- Reach 4, 5, 6, and 7B – Phase I ESA Vol 2 (2003)
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Reach 5 and 6 – Phase I ESA (2002)
- Reach 8 – Phase I ESA (2003)
- Reach 14 – Phase I ESA(2005)
Key Performance Indicators
Preferred project with federal and local funding: Provide flood protection to 1,100 homes, 500 businesses, and 1,300 agricultural acres, while improving stream habitat.
With local funding only: Provide 100-year flood protection for Reach 7 only (up to W. Dunne Avenue in Morgan Hill). A limited number of homes and businesses will be protected.
Preferred project provides 1% flood capacity for 4 miles of channel in downtown Morgan Hill, protecting approximately 1,100 homes and 500 businesses
Preferred project provides 10-year flood protection to approximately 1,300 agricultural acres in Morgan Hill, Gilroy and San Martin
Locally-funded-only project provides 1% flood protection for a limited number of homes and businesses in Morgan Hill
Improves stream habitat and fisheries
Creates additional wetlands
Improves stream water quality
Identifies opportunities to integrate recreation improvements with the City of Morgan Hill and others as appropriate
Geographic Area of Benefit
Morgan Hill, San Martin and Gilroy
Flooding History and Project Background
The area sustained damage in 1937, 1955, 1958, 1962, 1963, 1969, 1982, 1986, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2011. In 2009, many businesses and residences in downtown Morgan Hill were flooded under 1 foot of water. The project builds on the planning, design and property acquisition initiated under the Clean, Safe Creeks plan of 2000.
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, Valley Water 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.