The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s (Valley Water) Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program has many priorities, including eight projects under Priority D for “restoring and protecting vital wildlife habitat and providing opportunities for increased access to trails and open space". In 2010, during the development of the foundational roots of the Priority D5 Project: Ecological Data Collection and Analysis effort, Valley Water implemented a watershed approach to environmental monitoring and assessment using the State's Wetland and Riparian Area Monitoring Plan’s (WRAMP) 3-level framework recommended by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).  The D5 Project has since been conducting watershed-wide GIS-based (Level-1) and rapid stream condition assessments (Level-2) in five major watersheds of Santa Clara County including Coyote Creek, Guadalupe River, upper Pajaro River, Lower Peninsula, and West Valley watersheds. The five watersheds will be re-assessed by Valley Water satarting in 2020 to evaluate temporal and spatial changes in stream condition.

The D5 Project's watershed survey's employ several free, online standardized monitoring and assessment tools developed for statewide use to support the State Wetland Definition and Procedures for Discharges of Dredged or Fill Material to Waters of the State including: the California Aquatic Resources Inventory (CARI, the statewide GIS-based aquatic resource map), CRAM for streams and wetlands, and EcoAtlas (an interactive, online data management, visualization, and access website).  The purpose of the watershed assessments is to align the collection and analysis of ecological data with the needs of water resource decision-makers by collecting data that address specific management questions developed by Valley Water's resource managers.

To date, streams in all five major watersheds in Santa Clara County have been assessed by the Priority D5 Project with support from SFEI and Michael Baker International. The final watershed assessment reports can be found at the following links:     

  • Coyote Creek Watershed (2010)
  • Guadalupe River Watershed (2012)
  • Upper Pajaro River Watershed (2015)
  • Lower Peninsula Watershed (2016)
  • West Valley Watershed (2018)
Dates: 
2009 to 2019
Lisa Porcella (SCVWD)
Doug Titus (SCVWD)
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program
Wetland Science
Location Information
General Project Location(s): 
Santa Clara County, CA