Valley Water performs maintenance work in creeks for flood protection

Every year, Valley Water performs work in creeks across Santa Clara County to ensure that flood protection projects continue to provide their designed levels of protection. In addition to this critical work, Valley Water manages vegetation to reduce the intensity and harmful impacts of fires, particularly important during the extreme drought conditions in Santa Clara County. All of this work is conducted as part of our Stream Maintenance Program.

Valley Water owns and manages about 294 miles of streams. Each year, portions of these streams are inspected and prioritized for maintenance projects. Our work generally falls under one of four categories:

  • Bank protection: High and sustained water flows can cause extensive damage to creek banks, eroding existing flood protection improvements and natural elements. Repairing creek banks also helps protect neighboring homes and property from damage.
  • Sediment removal: Sediment and debris washed downstream can restrict the flow of water in some areas. During a heavy storm, these areas of restricted flow could cause water to back up, increasing the risk of flooding. Crews remove sediment to allow stormwater to flow through the creeks as designed.
  • Vegetation management: Valley Water manages over 3,000 acres of vegetation in Santa Clara County. Valley Water selectively removes instream vegetation to maintain flows in streams and riparian corridors. We manage vegetation near streams for maintenance access and fire code compliance, especially critical given the county’s drought conditions and ongoing challenges of climate change. Invasive plant species are also removed to improve ecological health.  
  • Riparian planting: This practice enhances and establishes habitat for birds, amphibians, fish, and other terrestrial and aquatic species living in creek corridors. Our riparian planting program compensates for the unavoidable riparian impacts created by sediment removal, bank stabilization and vegetation management activities.

Valley Water primarily performs this work between June 15 and Oct. 15. In some instances, Valley Water may request and receive work extensions beyond Oct. 15 to complete projects. Other work, including minor maintenance and vegetation management projects, can occur year-round.

Here are some highlights of the Stream Maintenance Program work that took place in 2022.

Sediment removal on Berryessa Creek downstream of Piedmont Road in San Jose

Bank protection on Coyote Creek upstream of McCarthy Boulevard in Milpitas

Sediment removal on Guadalupe River upstream of Coleman Avenue in San Jose

Sediment removal on Matadero Creek downstream of Louis Road in Palo Alto

Bank protection on Stevens Creek upstream of Middlefield Road in Mountain View

Vegetation thinning along Alamitos Creek levee in San Jose

Mitigation and winterization along Coyote Creek near McCarthy Boulevard in Milpitas

Los Gatos Creek invasive plant control

San Tomas Aquino Creek instream vegetation control


  1. Large wet garbage pile at 2020 E.San Antonio at your creek gates causing g future rodents . Church had a feista and used your/ours creek right of way to be there personal garbage can ! I would estimate 6 tons of garbage. Thank you.


  2. Creek-Stevens Creek off Lawrence expressway needs to be cleared of lots of trees debris and other items to let water flow properly as it’s not maintained at present.


      1. So I will have to pay $1200 per year for flood insurance for 3 more yrs even tho we’ve never had a flood. Does not seem fair.


  3. Significant damage to my property on Bertram road due to the debris on the creek. The roadway is about to collapse. Can I get some one to help me ?


  4. The article on describes the flood prevention work that Valley Water does in the waterways. The author stresses the need of routine maintenance in safeguarding communities against flooding. This piece exemplifies how governments at all levels can take effective action to save citizens from the devastating effects of natural disasters. I value Valley Water’s dedication to keeping the community updated on their progress.


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