Coyote Creek (Santa Clara County)
Coyote Creek is a river that flows through the Santa Clara Valley in California, United States. Coyote Creek was named Arroyo del Coyote by Padre Pedro Font when the de Anza Expedition reached it on Sunday, March 31, 1776. Although it is called a "creek", Coyote Creek is a river draining 320 square miles and running 63.6 miles from the confluence of its East Fork and Middle Fork to southeast San Francisco Bay. The river's main source is on Mount Sizer near Henry W. Coe State Park and the surrounding hills in the Diablo Range, northeast of Morgan Hill, California. At the base of the Diablo Range, the creek is impounded by two dams, first Coyote Reservoir and Anderson Lake. Nine major tributaries lie within the area that drains to these two reservoirs: Canada de los Osos, Hunting Hollow, Dexter Canyon, Larios Canyon Creeks drain to Coyote Reservoir. Coyote Reservoir Dam was built across the active 1000-ft wide trace of the Calaveras fault by the Santa Clara Valley Water District between 1934–36, storing 10,000 acre feet of water.
From Anderson Lake, Coyote Creek continues northwards from Morgan Hill through Coyote Valley, the narrowest point between the Diablo Range and the coastal Santa Cruz Mountains, where it picks up Fisher Creek before entering San Jose. As Coyote Creek forms the eastern boundary of downtown San Jose, it winds its way into North San Jose. There, Miguelita Creek, Penitencia Creek, Berryessa Creek are all tributaries. Coyote Creek bypasses the Newby Island landfill and empties into the San Francisco Bay. There is a chain of parks along Coyote Creek called the Coyote Creek Park Chain; the feasibility of a trail connecting the parks within this chain to Almaden Park was first examined in 1989. The river is managed by the SCVWD. In 1983, torrential rains caused by el Niño resulted in significant flooding of Coyote Creek in the Alviso neighborhood; the SCVWD, with advice from Santa Clara Basin Watershed Management Initiative stakeholders, produced a stream stewardship plan for the Coyote Creek watershed in 2002.
The plan includes over sixty projects to benefit flood protection, habitat enhancement and trails. The Silver Creek Fault runs parallel to Coyote Creek. Updated findings from an ongoing study of Anderson Dam were released in October, 2010, indicated that the dam could fail if a magnitude 7.25 earthquake occurred within 2 kilometers of the dam releasing a wall of water 35 feet high into downtown Morgan Hill in 14 minutes, 8 feet deep into San Jose within three hours. In response SCVWD has lowered the water to 54 percent full, 60 feet below the dam crest. According to the SCVWD, remediation of the problem will require lengthy construction that would take up to six years and cost as much as $100 million; because Coyote Reservoir Dam was built right across the Calaveras fault and there is a substantial risk of a seismic-triggered landslide on the east side of the reservoir at the dam site, an earthquake could cause failure of this dam upstream of the Anderson Dam, the release of water could increase risk of failure of the Anderson Dam.
After unusually heavy rainfalls, on February 20 and 21, 2017, the Anderson Reservoir reached as high as 104 percent of capacity, creating a large flow over the spillway into Coyote Creek, which overflowed and flooded neighborhoods of San Jose along US Highway 101 between the reservoir and the south San Francisco Bay. The 2017 flood was the worst one since 1997. By 4 p.m. February 20, 2017, San Jose City opened an overnight shelter for residents who choose to voluntarily evacuate their homes in low-lying areas along Coyote Creek. Subsequent days, the city started issuing advisory evacuation areas. On February 21, 2017, five people were rescued from the Coyote Creek floodwaters at Los Lagos Golf Course; the flood on that day forced the closure of US 101 in Morgan Hill. Twenty-eight horses were stranded at Cooksy Family Stables in South San Jose and at nearby Happy Hollow Park & Zoo in San Jose. Nearly 500 homes were evacuated at Phelan Avenue; the entire William Street park was flooded. A parking garage at San Jose International Airport was flooded.
About 14,000 people were forced out of their homes as a result of the flood. By February 23, 2017, nearly 4,000 people were still placed under evacuation orders; the creek reached a record height of 14.4 feet. In the weeks following the flood, citizen anger and anguish about the emergency response to the flood led to disagreements between the City of San Jose and the SCVWD. At a hearing at City Hall on March 9, 2017, the City took some responsibility for giving late evacuation notices to residents but blamed the water district for giving them flawed information. In the month, the two parties disagreed about whose responsibility it is to maintain and repair the creek; as of March 2017, the damage from the flood is estimated to cost more than $100 million to repair. Coyote Creek has and still does support the most diverse fish fauna among the Santa Clara Valley Basin watersheds, it supports 10 to 11 native fish species out of the original 18. Species known to occur include Pacific lamprey, steelhead/resident rainbow trout, chinook salmon, California roach, Sacramento blackfish, Sacramento pikeminnow, Sacramento sucker, three-spined stickleback, prickly sculpin, riffle sculpin, staghorn sculpin, tule perch.
Three species, the thicktail chub and Sacramento perch have been
Refugio Creek is a 4.4-mile-long watercourse running through the Refugio Valley from the hills of western Contra Costa County, California. It runs from the hills to its mouth at San Pablo Bay through the city of Hercules and unincorporated areas, including the town of Rodeo; the creek passes through a dense suburban area in addition to Refugio Valley Park. The creek is entirely at the surface level and unaltered although its riparian habitat is destroyed in the more developed areas. Refugio means "refuge" in the Spanish language. Refugio Creek waterfront plan List of watercourses in the San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisquito Creek
San Francisquito Creek is a creek that flows into southwest San Francisco Bay in California, United States. It was called the Arroyo de San Francisco by Juan Bautista de Anza in 1776. San Francisquito Creek courses through the towns of Portola Valley and Woodside, as well as the cities of Menlo Park, Palo Alto, East Palo Alto; the creek and its Los Trancos Creek tributary define the boundary between San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The original inhabitants of the area were the Ohlone people, called by the Spaniards "Coastanoans", or Coast-dwellers; these local residents lived off the land, gathering nuts and fish from both the ocean and the bay. Because of the abundance of food there was no need for them to practice agriculture. Evidences of their civilization are still being unearthed on the Filoli estate in Woodside, along San Francisquito Creek. In 1769, the Spanish exploration party led by Don Gaspar de Portolà camped by the creek for five nights, November 6–11, after their momentous discovery of San Francisco Bay.
The Franciscan missionary Juan Crespí, a member of the expedition, noted in his diary that, "The commander decided that we should stop in this valley while the explorers went out again to acquire certain information... They were given four days to be gone"; when the scouts returned, the expedition leaders met and decided to turn around and return to Monterey Bay, which they had passed but failed to recognize as the place described by earlier maritime explorers. In 1774 Father Francisco Palou, on Captain Rivera's expedition, erected a cross near the giant creekside redwood they called "El Palo Alto", to mark the site of a proposed mission; the colonizing of the Peninsula began after the 1776 expedition of Juan Bautista De Anza left Monterey on the first overland expedition to San Francisco Bay, passed across the creek on its way to establishing Mission Dolores and the Presidio of San Francisco in 1776. Although de Anza discovered Padre Palou's 1774 wooden cross, the creek's summer flow was deemed too low to support a mission.
The headwaters of the San Francisquito watershed are in the Santa Cruz Mountains above Menlo Park, around 667 meters above the Bay. The upper watershed consists of at least 22 named creeks; the creek mainstem originates at the confluence of Bear Creek and Corte Madera Creek just below Searsville Lake in the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve on lands purchased by Stanford University in 1892. The lake is formed by Searsville Dam, built in 1892, one year after the founding of the university itself; the 65-foot-tall and 275-foot-wide Searsville Dam consists of a series of interlocking concrete boulders that resemble a massively steep staircase. After leasing the lake for recreational use for 50 years, the Stanford Board of Trustees closed public access to Searsville Lake in 1975; the reservoir has lost over 90% of its original water storage capacity as 1.5×106 cubic yards of sediment has filled it in. Searsville Dam does not provide flood control, or hydropower. Although removal of the dam would double available spawning habitat on this important steelhead trout stream, Stanford's Jasper Ridge Advisory Committee in 2007 recommended that the dam not be removed and the lake dredged to maintain open water.
Stanford University uses water from the lake to irrigate its golf course and other athletic facilities on its campus. Anti-dam proponents point to a growing trend in habitat restoration nationally with over 500 dams removed in recent years. San Francisquito Creek's mainstem begins below Searsville Lake at the confluence of Corte Madera Creek and Bear Creek, it is joined by Los Trancos Creek just north of I-280. The creek runs for a length described by different authorities as from 13 to 22 kilometers, most 12.5 miles, after exiting the foothills near Junipero Serra Boulevard and Alpine Road, runs in an incised channel in a broad alluvial fan, before draining into the Bay south of the Dumbarton Bridge and north of the Palo Alto Flood Basin. Its watershed is about 110 square kilometers in extent, including areas of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. In one stretch it forms the boundary between the city of Palo Alto and the cities of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park, thus between San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, reflecting the fact that it was used as the boundary between the lands of the Spanish Missions at San Francisco and Santa Clara.
The tree from which Palo Alto takes its name, El Palo Alto, stands on the banks of the creek. In 1857, the U. S. Coast Survey identified 1,142 acres of tidal marsh at the mouth of the creek. There were two large willow groves adjacent to the tidal marsh associated with high groundwater tables and seasonal flooding. In the late 1920s levees were constructed to re-route the creek through a new engineered channel from its former mouth, to a sharp north turn for about half a mile to the northeast, before exiting to the Bay. By 2004, filled areas such as the Palo Alto golf course and the Palo Alto Airport have reduced the tidal marsh to 352 acres. San Francisquito Creek hosts the most viable remaining anadromous steelhead population in southern San Francisco Bay streams; because the San Francisquito Creek mainstem forms the boundary of Santa Clara County and San Mateo County, the respective county water districts were unable to agree on paying to channelize and concretize the creek, leaving it in a natural state.
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