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Lower Berryessa Creek

Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project

The Santa Clara Valley Water District's Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project, when completed, will protect 2,447 parcels in Milpitas from the threat of a 100-year flood event, which has a 1-in-100 chance of occurring in any given year. The Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project includes both the Upper Berryessa Creek portion and the Lower Berryessa Creek portion. For more information on the Upper Berryessa Creek portion, click here.

The Lower Berryessa Creek portion of the project, which includes Calera and Tularcitos creeks, will protect 1,823 properties in Milpitas, between Milpitas High School and E. Calaveras Boulevard (north to south) and the Union Pacific Railroad to Highway 680 (east to west). View the Lower Berryessa Creek fact sheet.

FEMA-certifiable improvements are planned about 1.7 miles through Milpitas, from its confluence with Lower Penitencia Creek, south to Calaveras Boulevard. Improvements would also occur along 2.1 miles of Calera and Tularcitos creeks, two smaller creeks that flow into Berryessa Creek. The project will build floodwalls, improve levees, widen the creek channel to accommodate high flows, and enhance and enlarge tidal and freshwater wetlands and riparian habitat.

Lower Berryessa Creek Map (Phase 1,2,3)

 The Lower Berryessa Creek portion is underway in three phases:

Phase 1 (yellow area on the map)
This phase stretches from the confluence at Lower Penitencia Creek (approximately 400 feet south of Milmont Drive Bridge) to Abel Street. The flood protection improvements for this phase include earthen levees on the east side of the creek and artificial floodwalls on the west side of the creek, as well as an enhanced tidal and freshwater wetlands area. Construction of Phase 1 was completed in December 2016. Plant establishment work will continue through December 2021.

  • Typical cross section of Phase 1 channel improvements (facing east)
    Click image to enlarge
    /uploadedImages/Services/FloodProtection/Projects/Lower_Berryessa_Creek_Flood_Protection_Project/Lower-Berryessa-Creek_Cross-Section.jpg

Phase 2 (orange area on the map)
This phase stretches from Abel Street to Calaveras Boulevard. The flood protection improvements for this phase include earthen levees on the north side of the creek and artificial floodwalls on the south side of the creek, as well as enhancing riparian habitat. Construction of Phase 2 began in 2016. See below for construction information.  

Phase 3 (red area on the map)
This phase includes a portion of Calera Creek and Tularcitos Creek. Work on these creeks will take place following completion of Phases 1 and 2.

View the Lower Berryessa Creek Project fact sheet (PDF).


What to expect during construction

Phase 2 is currently in the second of three construction seasons. Work activities within the creek channel will begin in May 2017 and continue through October 2017. Work outside the creek channel will continue from November 2017 through May 2018.

View the Phase 2 construction mailer (PDF) for more information.

The following activities are planned for the 2017 construction season:

  • Removing approximately 140 feet of the soundwall adjacent to the railroad tracks near Edgewater Drive.
  • Installing foundation piles for the concrete floodwall along the south side of the creek between N. Milpitas Boulevard and Calaveras Boulevard.
  • Installing foundation piles and building concrete floodwalls along the south side of the creek adjacent to the future BART tracks near Abel Street.
  • Raising the pedestrian bridge at Belshaw Drive and Paseo Refugio. In order to raise the bridge abutment, the pedestrian bridge will be temporarily removed beginning in May 2017 and then replaced by December 2018.

What to expect during construction:

  • In late April or early May, prior to the start of construction, the contractor will take photographs of existing conditions along public streets and water district property.
  • Regular work hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Occasional Saturday work may be needed. Separate notices will be distributed if Saturday work occurs.
  • Truck hauling will occur between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to accommodate peak traffic hours.
  • Majority of the construction work will be conducted in and along the creek, within the water district's right of way.
  • Expect typical construction noise during work hours from heavy equipment, such as drilling rigs, shoring installation rigs, excavators, concrete trucks, and hauling trucks.
  • A water truck will spray the work area to control any dust from construction activities.
  • Temporary lane closures along N. Milpitas Boulevard for trucks and crews to access the creek. Two-way traffic will be maintained, but may be reduced to one lane in each direction. Flaggers may be used for traffic control.
  • Generators may be used to pump water around the project site and back into the creek further downstream.
  • A visual screening fence will be installed around the work areas for safety and to control dust.


About the project

The Lower Berryessa Creek Flood Protection Project extends approximately 1.7 miles through the city of Milpitas, from its confluence with Lower Penitencia Creek, south to Caleveras Boulevard. The project also includes about 2.1 miles of Calera and Tularcitos creeks. These two smaller creeks are tributaries to Berryessa Creek and must also be modified to prevent water from overflowing their banks. When complete, this project will protect vast portions of the City of Milpitas from flood events.  

Fact sheets covering the proposed projects are available here:

Lower Berryessa Creek

Calera Creek

Tularcitos Creek

Planning and environmental documents for this project can be found in the "Meetings and Notices" section for this project page linked at left. 


For more information:

  • Contact Public Information Representative Emily Gross at (408) 630-2415 or by email at egross@valleywater.org
  • Use “Access Valley Water” to submit questions, complains or compliments directly from your computer to a water district staff person who can help you. Click on the "Projects or work going on in my neighborhood" tab and select "Berryessa Creek (lower) flood protection project - Lower Penitencia Creek to Calveras Blvd."
  • Sign up to receive project updates via email.