About the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study
The South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study is a Congressionally authorized study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers together with the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the State Coastal Conservancy to identify and recommend flood risk management and ecosystem restoration projects along South San Francisco Bay for Federal funding.
Santa Clara County’s shoreline is at risk from coastal flooding now, due to extreme storm events combined with high tides, and in the future as sea levels rise. The County is among those areas in California at risk for the highest potential damages from flooding (See California's Flood Future).
The South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Study (Shoreline Study) is looking at the feasibility of options for managing flood risk along the South Bay shoreline as well as undertaking ecosystem restoration and expanding public access. The goal of the Shoreline Study is to protect the parts of Santa Clara County’s shoreline with the highest potential damages and threats to human health and safety from flooding, using a combination of flood protection levees and wetlands. This approach using natural infrastructure would provide increased flood protection and restored Bay habitats, as well as a flood protection system that can evolve in the future.
The Shoreline Study is coordinated with another project in the area, the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project, which seeks to restore historic wetlands on 15,100 acres of former salt ponds in the South Bay.
Progress and Next Steps
After completing an analysis of those parts of Santa Clara County that could be subject to significant economic damages from tidal flooding, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identified the Alviso area as the project's first phase, because of high estimated potential flood damages, including damages to homes, businesses, and the San Jose/Santa Clara Water Pollution Control Plant; as well as significant opportunities for ecosystem restoration. In 2012, after hearing from the public on possible alternative approaches, the Army Corps, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the State Coastal Conservancy identified a tentatively selected plan for levee alignments, wetlands restoration, and public access in the Alviso area.
- The Army Corps released a draft feasibility study and environmental impact statement on alternatives in December 2014 and took public comments until February 23, 2015.
- A public meeting was held Wednesday, January 14, 2015 so members of the public could learn about and comment on the draft plan and environmental document. For more information about the meeting click here.
- The final document was released in September 2015 and is available for review or download at USACE.
- In December 2015, the Army Corps Chief of Engineers signed a report recommending that Congress authorize the Shoreline Study. The report is available here.
- In March 2016, the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board unanimously approved the Alviso area Shoreline Study project, certified the environmental impact report and approved a mitigation monitoring and reporting program.
- If Congress authorizes and appropriates funds for the project, construction could start as early as 2017. The project would be funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with a 35% non-federal share from the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the State Coastal Conservancy.