In Sunol Valley, Alameda Creek is isolated in a narrow
channel constrained by levees and high artificial banks as it flows through
gravel quarries, disconnected from its floodplain during all but the highest
flood flows. Changed groundwater levels, channel incision, bank erosion,
shallow flow depths, and warm water temperatures at low flows are all
concerns. Despite some remaining sycamore forest, riparian vegetation
is scarce. San Francisco plans to release cold water from Calaveras Reservoir
and to stabilize and restore riparian habitat in the Sunol Reach will
help improve conditions for trout.
Sunol Valley Restoration Plan
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is developing a Sunol Valley restoration report to guide restoration, conservation and monitoring efforts in the Sunol Valley, from Portal Road down to the confluence of Alameda Creek with Arroyo de la Laguna. The report will include information about stabilizing and restoring the Sunol Valley stream reach and the hydrology and biology of the entire reach. The report will be released in 2015; the SFPUC and other partners will then evaluate project options.
PG&E Pipeline Crossing
A cement armored PG&E gas pipeline crossing of Alameda Creek in the Sunol Valley poses a barrier for fish migration at most water flows. PG&E will provide fish passage at this site by removing the concrete mat from the channel and burying the pipeline deeper under the creek. PG&E is finishing design, coordinating with the SFPUC and beginning permitting. The project will also evaluate stabilizing the stream bed upstream and downstream of the pipeline crossing. Construction is scheduled for 2016-2017.
Mining Permit Lease Restoration
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Alameda Creek Alliance are working with the gravel quarry lease operator of Surface Mining Permit 30, Oliver de Silva, to restore Alameda Creek and San Antonio Creek adjacent to the SMP-30 gravel mining pit. A conservation plan by Oliver de Silva will plant riparian vegetation along the stream banks of both creeks adjacent to the mining pit to restore more natural stream function and enhance habitat quality, and will install a cut-off wall adjacent to the quarry to minimize percolation loss of Alameda Creek flow into the mining pit. Oliver de Silva has also provided financial support for the SFPUC Sunol Valley Restoration Plan and will contribute funding for the PG&E fish passage project at the gas pipeline.
Small Scale Sinbad Creek Restoration Projects
The Alameda Creek Alliance will be working with landowners and various agencies to conduct small-scale restoration projects on private lands along Sinbad Creek, including fish passage, removing invasive plants, restoring native vegetation, and erosion control. Check out our Sinbad Creek Stewardship web page.
Alameda Creek Watershed Center
The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is developing plans to construct an Alameda Creek Watershed Center in Sunol near the Sunol Water Temple. The current plan is for multiple buildings clustered around an open courtyard designed to complement the existing natural and built environment, with native landscaping. Construction for the Center is expected to start in 2016. The Center will provide: a meeting room for public use; educational programs for school children; opportunities to learn about and appreciate the Alameda Creek Watershed, its natural resources and its role as part of the SFPUC water supply system; connection with the history of the Sunol Valley; and activities associated with the Sunol Ag Park and volunteer opportunities in the watershed and at the Center.