Wieckowski bill to improve flood protection in South Bay approved by Natural Resources and Water Committee

March 13, 2018

SACRAMENTO – A bill by Senator Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) to improve flood protection, restore ecosystems and enhance recreation along the southern San Francisco Bay unanimously passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee today.  SB 881 now heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“This bill has bipartisan support because it will provide access to funding needed to increase flood protection for businesses and residents in the South Bay,” said Wieckowski, chair of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee.  “This region is home to a large employment base for Silicon Valley and for thousands of local residents. It will help us adapt to California’s changing climate and address sea level rise in the Bay Area.”

SB 881 would add the Shoreline Project to the list of flood control projects that can receive state flood control subvention reimbursements. The Shoreline Project combines the environmental restoration of wetlands with traditional levee construction to protect properties in San Jose, Alviso, Sunnyvale, Mountain View and Palo Alto from the risk of rising seas and high tides.  The area includes the NASA/Ames Research Center, Google, Cisco, a number of other well-known businesses, three wastewater facilities and thousands of residents.

“We are pleased to see the bipartisan support received in today's committee vote,” said Richard P. Santos, Chair of the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. “SB 881, together with federal, state, and water district funding, shows the state's support through local investment and will enable the Shoreline project to provide vital protection improvements to South Bay communities from flooding and sea level rise, while also providing environmental and recreational benefits.”

The reimbursement funds would allow the Santa Clara Valley Water District to be eligible to  receive payment for the state’s share of federally authorized projects being done in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Shoreline Project was authorized for federal funding by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation “WIIN” Act, signed by President Obama in 2016. 

The project includes building a 4-mile levee along the shoreline and restoring about 2,900 acres of former salt-production ponds to tidal marsh habitat. Completion of parts of the San Francisco Bay Trail is also part of the project.

Senator Wieckowski’s district stretches from southern Alameda County to parts of Santa Clara County.