S.F. Bay to Highway 101
The Environmental Impact Report of the SFCJPA’s first major capital project was certified in November 2012, and final design is begin completed in 2014. When constructed, the project will reduce flood risks in East Palo Alto and Palo Alto along a flood-prone reach of the Creek downstream (east) of U.S. Highway 101 to San Francisco Bay. Additionally, it will reduce flood risks from Bay tides and 50 years of future Sea Level Rise within the creek in concert with the SFCJPA’s planned coastal levee system for the region.
This project will also provide the capacity needed for upstream flood protection projects being designed by the SFCJPA, benefit the habitat of three endangered (and other) species in the area, improve Bay trails and outdoor education opportunities, enable the City of Palo Alto to improve its golf course along the Bay, and allow PG&E to improve safety and maintenance of its gas and electrical transmission lines that cross the Creek.
- In order to increase creek flow capacity from San Francisco Bay to Highway 101, we will:
- Widen the creek to convey a 100-year storm flow, coupled with a 10-year tide and 26 inches of Sea Level Rise;
- Excavate sediment that has built up over several decades and replace it with a marsh plain with higher value vegetation that is naturally more self-sustaining;
- Selectively reduce the height of an abandoned levee to allow high creek flows into the Palo Alto Baylands north of the Creek, thus reinstating a natural connection to the Bay for the first time in over 75 years and reducing the elevation of water within the creek channel; and
- In the area confined by homes and businesses, construct floodwalls aligned to Caltrans’ Hwy. 101 bridge over the creek.
- It is at very high risk of severe flooding from both fluvial (flows coming down the creek from the hills) and tidal sources;
- It runs through communities that have experienced considerable damage and dislocation from previous flood events, most recently in December 2012;
- It is a necessary first step to providing comprehensive flood protection, as upstream projects cannot be built until downstream capacity has been increased; and
- Lowering the water surface elevation through this reach helps drain upstream areas and adjacent neighborhoods below sea level.
- For a number of reasons this section of the creek is the first priority for the JPA’s flood management efforts: