Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Safety Milestone for the Fish Passage Facilities Project

Since construction began in April 2016, the Fish Passage Facilities Project within the Alameda Creek Watershed celebrated an important safety milestone this month.  As of August 6th, the construction crews have worked a total of 24,447 hours with no recordable injuries, modified duty or days away from work and the injury rate is well below the national average. 

Major work has included concrete demolition, excavation and drilling work at the site. The Alameda Creek Diversion Dam is located on SFPUC lands adjacent to the Sunol Regional Wilderness Park in Sunol. The project will allow the SFPUC to improve the current facility and to develop fish passage facilities within the Alameda Creek Watershed. This important work will support restoration of steelhead trout to the Alameda Creek watershed. As we continue work to complete the project in late 2018, we applaud Shimmick Construction for making safety a priority every day.

Early morning safety tailgate with the crews 

Work underway at the Fish Passage Facilities Project 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Calaveras Dam Project shows Day Campers how to build their own Dam

It was a hot summer day in the Sunol Regional Wilderness Park. But that did not stop our project teams to meet with a group of energetic kids from the Ridge Runners Nature Day Camp. 

Staff met with the young, curious minds to tell them about the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System along with what is happening just around the corner at the Calaveras Dam Replacement Project and the Fish Passage Facilities within the Alameda Creek Watershed.

The youth learned about how their drinking water reaches their tap and asked questions about how fish migrate along the fish ladder. The Fish Passage Facilities Project will support the migration of the steelhead trout in Alameda Creek, around the existing Alameda Creek Diversion Dam, when completed in late 2018.

In addition, the kids were able to become hands-on dam builders, designing and constructing their own dams with clay, gravel and sand materials. The soil samples provided will actually be used in the construction of the Calaveras Dam, an earth and rock filled dam, so the campers got to touch the very center of the dam.

Thank you to the Ridge Runners Nature Day Camp for the opportunity to hear about our important projects in the Sunol Valley!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Photo Friday - Tule Elk

Tule elk are a subspecies of elk that are native to only California. Once abundant, they were hunted to near extinction after the Gold Rush.  A small handful of elk were discovered on a private ranch in San Joaquin County in the mid 1870’s and protected by the rancher.

Flash forward, tule elk were reintroduced to the area in Santa Clara County in 1978. The herd split up, and some of them took up residence near our San Antonio Reservoir.  

The ancestors of that herd are still there today, and apparently making themselves available for photo ops by watershed keeper Pat Jones while on his rounds.

Pat spied this gentleman below Turner Dam last weekend.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Sunol Valley Updates: Calaveras Road Closure and Construction Updates

Here are some important updates that may affect you:

Calaveras Road Closure Starts July 5th

To those who drive or ride Calaveras Road between Milpitas and Highway I-680 through the Sunol Valley: Please take note that Calaveras Road will be closed between Geary Road (just south of the entrance to Sunol Regional Wilderness) to Oakridge Road (near the Santa Clara / Alameda County line) starting July 5, 2016 for 18 months for safety reasons. The closure is weekdays only. 

Why Close the Road?
Although the majority of the materials for the new dam will come from on-site, approximately 300,000 cubic yards of sands and gravels and 150,000 cubic yards of hard rock will need to be imported to the site for construction of the dam. These materials will be imported in large hauling trucks on Calaveras Road. At its peak, truck traffic could amount to an average of one haul truck every five minutes on Calaveras Road during heavy hauling activities. It is not safe for this many large trucks to share the narrow portions of Calaveras Road with cyclists and private vehicles. 

Road Closure Details
  • Where: Calaveras Road just south of Geary Road (entrance to Sunol Regional Wilderness) to Oakridge Road – near the Alameda / Santa Clara County line.
  • When: weekdays ONLY
  • The road will be swept of debris before opening at 6 a.m. on Saturday mornings
  • The road will be closed every Sunday evening at 11:00 p.m.
  • Gates: Two gates will close Calaveras Road just south of Geary Road and at Oakridge Road
  • Emergency First Responders will have access through the closure at all times
  • The entrance to East Bay Regional Park District’s Sunol Regional Wilderness will be open at all times from the north
  • The road will be OPEN on weekends, for specific cycling races and for major holidays.
To learn more about the Calaveras Road Closure, please visit for more details

Construction Activity to begin in the South end of the Calaveras Reservoir

Staring July 5, 2016 thru Mid 2018, increased construction activity will begin in the southern end of Calaveras Reservoir which the project refers to as Borrow Area E. In order to construct the replacement dam, we will need to gather clay materials from Borrow Area E.

What to expect
  • Construction vehicles and earth moving machinery working at the southern edge of the reservoir on SFPUC property.
  • Typical work hours are from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • You may hear back up alarms and some noise from the equipment
  • Traffic: the trucks will stay off public roads for construction work. They will utilize specially-constructed roads within SFPUC property instead
  • The project will not use Marsh or Felter Roads to access the construction areas or to haul materials. 

No Construction Work on the 4th of July
Our construction crews in Sunol Valley will not be working.
We hope everyone has a safe and wonderful Independence Day. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Photo Friday in Sunol Valley: Fish Passage Facilities Underway

Construction on a project that helps fish in Alameda Creek is underway! The Fish Passage Facilities Project within the Alameda Creek Watershed is located on SFPUC property, but accessed through the Sunol Regional Wilderness Park.

Construction crews have been busy preparing the site and shown here constructing a retaining wall.

The project is part of the SFPUC’s $4.8 billion Water System Improvement Program to repair, replace, and seismically upgrade the Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System.  This important work will support restoration of steelhead trout to the Alameda Creek watershed.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Photo Friday in Sunol Valley

Happy Friday

Although the hillsides around Sunol are already golden, we thought we'd share a few reminders of a beautiful spring taken only a couple of months ago.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 31st is National Dam Safety Awareness Day

Each year, the nation commemorates May 31st as National Dam Safety Awareness Day. We have an important dam under construction here in Sunol Valley – the Calaveras Dam. Dams play a critical role in our water supply. 

Why is it important?
  • Calaveras Reservoir, impounded by Calaveras Dam, when full provides half of Hetch Hetchy Regional Water System's Bay Area storage
    • Upon completion, we will have a new seismically upgraded dam with a structural height of 220 feet, a crest length of 1210 feet and width of 80 feet at the crest and 1180 feet at the base
    • It is crucial to the reliability of the water supply of 2.6 million people during emergencies and in times of drought
    Today reminds us just how critical our work is here in Sunol Valley to rebuild the Calaveras Dam.

    The following organizations have joined forces to commemorate National Dam Safety Awareness Day on May 31 - the Deep Foundations Institute (DFI), Association of State Dam Safety Officials, National Hydropower Association, U.S. Society on Dams and American Society of Civil Engineers. Check out their news:

    Calaveras Dam under construction today