The Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency (Habitat Agency) represents multiple stakeholders in providing long-term protection of ecosystems and biodiversity within Santa Clara County. The Habitat Agency contracted with Habitat Restoration Sciences (HRS), Balance Hydrologics, Inc., and Dudek for this design-build project to develop conceptual plans, evaluate the feasibility of restoration opportunities, and implement the selected restoration alternative(s) along San Felipe Creek within Joseph D. Grant County Park.
The restoration design effort was initially conceived of as a riparian corridor enhancement effort, but upon further investigation and assessment of historical disturbances at the landscape scale, Balance led the team through a design process which addressed watershed-wide disturbance holistically. A wide range of restoration elements were applied to the alluvial fan, road, and wet meadow system, including: reconnection of overland flow to the Boyds Creek alluvial fan, rehabilitation and drainage management along an existing trail, creating instream wood jams, restoring riparian woodland, regrading of channel banks to expand inset floodplain development, and headcut rehabilitation to promote floodplain connectivity and stability. This work will mitigate impacts from historical land-uses and disturbances, enhance aquatic and upland habitats, make San Felipe Creek more resilient to climate change, and provide educational opportunities for the public in an area that is prized as a local resource and area of outstanding beauty.
In its role as design lead Balance led multiple stakeholder meetings and successfully achieved buy-in and consensus on design elements. Once this was achieved, we developed 65% level drawings, specifications, and construction notes, as well as a design basis report on the tight timeline desired by the Habitat Agency to meet their implementation goals. We began construction in August 2018 and major earthwork was completed by the end of September 2018. Balance oversaw and completed final design and as-built documents during construction, with a full-time presence on site during earthwork activities and during construction of the bio-engineered elements. The Design-Build process required close coordination with the contractor, HRS, and the Habitat Agency so that project goals were achieved on-time and within budget.
A 10-year monitoring program is now underway to evaluate project performance and to facilitate reporting as required by multiple regulatory agencies.