Funding the Flood Protection Project in Silicon Valley

Sen. Bob Wieckowski yesterday introduced new state legislation to ease the financial burden on local jurisdictions working to prevent flooding in residential and business communities along the southern end of San Francisco Bay.

According to Wieckowski, SB 881 would add the Shoreline Project to the list of flood control projects that can receive state flood control subvention reimbursements.

These funds allow local agencies, in this case the Santa Clara Valley Water District, to receive reimbursements for paying the state’s share of federally authorized projects being done in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

This bill provides access to funding for critical flood protection for thousands of residents and businesses in the South Bay, home to many large employers that are vital to Silicon Valley’s economy,” commented Sen. Wieckowski, chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.

The Shoreline Project combines the environmental restoration of wetlands with traditional levee construction to protect properties in Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, San José, and the community of Alviso from the risk of high tides and rising seas.

The South Bay shoreline has seen increased flooding in recent years due to the confluence of severe storms and high tides. The Shoreline Project was authorized for federal funding by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation “WIIN” Act, signed by President Obama on December 16, 2016.

Getting federal approval and funding for this project, was a big win for South Bay residents, businesses, and our shoreline environment,” said Richard P. Santos, Chair of the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors.

The total design and construction cost for the flood risk management structures, ecosystem restoration, and recreational improvements is estimated to be $177 million, with $71 million as the federal share of this project, $45 million from the water district, and $61 million from the State Coastal Conservancy. An estimated $4 to $7 million is expected to be eligible for the state flood subventions reimbursements.

The first phase of the project includes construction of a new 4-mile levee along the South San Francisco Bay shoreline and restoration of about 2,900 acres of former salt-production ponds to tidal marsh habitat.