The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on June 12, 2018, that the San Francisquito Creek Flood Protection Project was allotted $646,500 in the current fiscal year, which was more than the $500,000 amount that was requested by the Santa Clara Valley Water District. The funding will be used to complete the feasibility study phase of the project, which is the phase before the design and construction phase can begin. This project builds on the planning and design tasks that were initiated as part of the district’s Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program passed by voters in November 2012.
Given that San Francisquito Creek can cause severe flood damage with very little warning, has overflowed its banks 11 times since 1910, and has to face the unpredictability of climate change, it is crucial to have a flood protection project here to increase our community’s resilience to flooding. The project will not only increase flood protection but will also reduce bank erosion and sedimentation. It also will improve habitat for steelhead trout and other endangered species, enhance stream water quality, and identify recreational opportunities.
The San Francisquito Creek Flood Protection Project includes the cities of East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, and Menlo Park. The San Francisquito Creek’s watershed is about 45 square miles in the Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. Around this creek, there are approximately 5,500 residential structures including an assisted living facility, eight schools, six places of worship, and 100 commercial structures that will be protected because of this project. The project’s mission is to protect the community while enhancing habitat and improving water quality in one of the largest creeks in our county, and the feasibility funds that the project just received will help advance these efforts.
The Corps has provided funds for this project continuously since 2004 when a reconnaissance study was initiated.