Valley Water, Santa Clara County
Pathways Climate Institute, as a subconsultant to Stillwater Sciences, is collaborating across disciplines to support restoring natural connections between the watershed and San Francisco Bay. Restoration of natural processes, such as the deposit of marsh-sustaining sediment, will support the development of tidal marsh in a group of former salt production ponds (Ponds A8, A8S, A5, and A7, referred to as the Pond A8 Complex, and Pond A4), as well as riparian habitat and freshwater marsh. The project will also restore and enhance wildlife habitat, reduce flood risks, and provide improved access and recreational opportunities to the cities of Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, and San Jose as well as the Alviso neighborhood.
The project includes realigning Calabazas and San Tomas Aquino creeks to directly flow into the Pond A8 Complex located at the southern boundary of San Francisco Bay and the northern shoreline of Santa Clara County. This connection will reduce the need the maintenance dredging of the creeks and help accumulate much needed sediment within the ponds to restore tidal marsh. This project supports the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project (SBSPRP), the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast.
Pathways is supporting the development and evaluation of conceptual alternatives, providing coordination for the hydrodynamic modeling (to be performed by Dr. Michael MacWilliams, Anchor QEA under a separate contract), incorporating climate change resilience into the alternatives, and providing technical and subject matter expertise as needed.
California State Coastal Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Caltrans, County of Santa Clara, and City of Sunnyvale are among the partners of the project.