Op-Ed: Valley Water Seeks Public Input on Flood Protection Project

As Valley Water continues working on a project aimed at reducing the risk of flooding in neighborhoods along Coyote Creek in San Jose, we are inviting the community to provide input on proposed solutions during a second round of public meetings.

Collaborating with residents, business owners and community leaders is an important piece of how we will make this flood-risk reduction project happen. We believe it’s critical to hear their ideas on how to design a project that is reflective of the community.

During this next round of meetings, our team will share more specific details about the project alternatives, which are unique to each neighborhood. We want members of the community to give us their input and ask questions about the alternatives.

Valley Water will use the community’s comments and suggestions to further refine the alternatives into what will become the Coyote Creek Flood Protection Project, part of the voter-approved Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program. This project underscores Valley Water’s commitment to reduce the risk of flooding and keep our communities safe.

The three meetings are scheduled to take place in San José from 6:30 to 8pm on the following dates and locations:

  • Nov. 6: Golden Wheel Mobile Home Park (clubhouse), 900 Golden Wheel Park Drive
  • Nov. 7: Franklin McKinley School District, 645 Wool Creek Drive
  • Nov. 13: Roosevelt Community Center, 901 E. Santa Clara St.

I plan on attending the meeting at the Roosevelt Community Center, located in the district I represent. My fellow board members Richard P. Santos and Tony Estremera are scheduled to attend the meetings in the districts they represent.

Members of the project team will address issues and go over conceptual solutions specific to the neighborhood where each meeting is held.

Our objective is to reduce the risk of flooding to homes, schools, businesses, and highways in the Coyote Creek floodplain up to the level that occurred on Feb. 21, 2017, which was approximately a 20-year flood event.

We appreciate everyone who attended our first round of public meetings last spring, and we hope to see another great turnout in November.

Once we hear from the community, our project team will refine the proposed solutions and present a preferred project alternative to the Valley Water Board of Directors. After that, our team will begin designing the project.

Since the flooding in February 2017, Valley Water has also implemented short-term flood-relief solutions that don’t increase the risk of flooding in other areas. In the past two years we’ve installed an interim project consisting of a 400-foot long floodwall and a 500-foot long berm to protect the Rock Springs community, repaired a damaged levee adjacent to the South Bay Mobile Home Park community, removed invasive vegetation, and installed and repaired gauge stations along bridges and road crossings.

In May 2018, Valley Water signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), which will allow Valley Water to conduct a feasibility study with as-needed technical help from the USACE, paid by Valley Water. This was an important step in securing federal funding for a flood protection project for the creek.

In September, the project team began studying conditions of existing levees located downstream of Berryessa Road to assess their structural condition. The information gathered will provide vital data needed to design the project alternatives for this area.

Alternative funding, including federal funding, state grants, and additional local funding, are being explored and may need to be secured for full construction of the project.

My board colleagues and I continue to advocate with our state and federal representatives to seek funding for our local flood protection projects. This financial investment is critical to achieve flood protection projects for our community.

If you are unable to attend the upcoming public meetings, join us on Facebook Live: www.facebook.com/SCVWD. We will record the meetings and post them to the project’s website along with the meeting presentation.

You may also send your feedback to Dámaris Villalobos-Galindo, project manager, at [email protected]. To receive updates on the status of the Coyote Creek project or Board Ad Hoc Committee meetings, join our mailing list here.

Submitted on behalf of the Santa Clara Valley Water District. For further information, contact your elected district representative, Barbara Keegan at [email protected].org. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].

One Comment

  1. Flood control? Based on my 27 years owning a house near Guadalupe River and never having been removed from FEMA’s flood zone designation despite all the federal and state funding groveled for and frittered away by Valley Water on projects purportedly meant to do just that I’m not confident that Valley Water is up to the task of flood control.

    Perhaps they should stick to what they’ve proven they’re good at- fostering a comfortable and welcoming habitat for the creek people.

Leave a Reply