The Guadalupe River Flood Protection Project by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the United States Army Corps of Engineers is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive projects of its kind as it offers an opportunity to not only increase flood protection, but create recreational opportunities and enhance the environment.
Launched in 2000 with federal dollars and local funding from the voter approved Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection program, the project looks to protect more than 7,500 parcels from a 100-year flood event and provide long term beneficial impacts to stream ecology, hydrology, fisheries and habitat. As of 2015, the partners have completed work in the lower and downtown portions - known as reaches - of the Guadalupe River and are now working on the upper segment of the river.
Upper Guadalupe River Project
This project runs along 5.7 miles of the river from Interstate 280 to Blossom Hill Road and is composed of seven project areas: Reaches 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12. Availability of federal funding will determine the future schedule of the project, but the partners have delivered on a number of important areas in the Upper Guadalupe:
- Reach 6, which extends from I-280 to the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) crossing just downstream of Willow Street in San Jose, saw completion in 2012. It created a floodplain to handle high flows from the river, with a series of islands along the east bank of the river to preserve existing trees and extend the West Virginia Street bridge to span the floodplain.
- Reach 10B, stretching from Wren Drive near Almaden Expressway to McBride Loop, is one of three segments in the reach. The district continues to aquire right-of-way for Reaches 10A and 10C and will require federal funding to finish in 2021 and 2019, respectively. The 10B project saw completion in 2012.
- Reach 12 goes from Branham Lane to Blossom Hill Road and the water district and Army Corps will break ground there in the summer of 2015.
Reaches 7 and 8, which are downstream of Willow Street to Willow Glen Way, remain in design phase with the Army Corps. Both will need federal funding to begin construction. Reach 9 has a conceptual design, but there currently is no federal funding for the Army Corps to proceed with the actual design work. Reach 11, running from Hillsdale Avenue to Branham Lane, also needs federal funds to proceed with construction.