In December 2021, Valley Water and its partners broke ground on the first portion of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Phase 1 Project. This critical project is designed to protect communities along the southern end of San Francisco Bay from coastal flooding and sea-level rise due to climate change.
Since then, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ contractor has worked on the first section of the project, a new, 15.2-foot-tall levee that will stretch from Alviso Marina County Park to the Artesian Slough. Their efforts to date have primarily consisted of removing water from the work area, demolishing the existing berm and replacing it with more suitable material to form a strong and firm foundation for a new levee.
Work crews are moving more than 500,000 cubic yards of material to help build the new levee. To isolate the construction work area from the surrounding pond waters, work crews set up structures known as coffer dams and sheet pile wall systems. Crews have also relocated about 25,000 fish from the work area back to the Bay.
The Shoreline Project is a partnership between Valley Water, the Army Corps, the California State Coastal Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority.
Sea levels in San Francisco Bay have risen nearly 8 inches in the last 100 years and continue to rise. Sea level in the area could rise as much as 3 feet in the next 50 years. Once completed, the Shoreline Phase 1 Project will help reduce coastal flood risk for about 5,500 residents, and thousands more commuters and businesses. This will provide a critical line of defense for homes and businesses in the historically disadvantaged community of Alviso, which is particularly vulnerable as it sits 13 feet below sea level and has flooded many times.
The project will also protect the San Jose-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater facility and the Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center.
As part of the project, we are also working to restore and enhance 2,900 acres of tidal marsh and related habitat. The restoration is part of the Coastal Conservancy’s coastal wetland restoration project which is the largest in the western United States.
All sections of the Bay will feel the environmental benefits of the Shoreline Project. Fish, birds, plants and other wildlife that once flourished on the edge of the Bay will slowly start returning and help create a healthier San Francisco Bay. The project also will enhance recreation opportunities by connecting sections of the iconic San Francisco Bay Trail.
To read more about this project, visit our website at https://www.valleywater.org/project-updates/creek-river-projects/E7-san-francisco-bay-shoreline-protection.