Making plans

This morning’s special Board meeting dealt with the District’s Capital Improvement Program, which is the District’s rolling five-year plan for large capital projects. Today’s meeting dealt with adding projects to the plan, but with the understanding that the budget process, which is about to begin, will be the final word on what actually gets built.

The Board approved the addition of three flood control projects: two bridges on Lower Silver Creek (at Capitol Expressway and Jackson Avenue) and restoring capacity on lower Llagas Creek. This latter project was the subject of some comment among the Board members. Director Sanchez wondered why clearing thickets of willow was so expensive, and Chair Kamei predicted that the options available to the District were very narrow, that buying adjacent property and expanding the channel by moving back levees would be the result. It sounded as though this was a maintenance problem that grew until it turned into a capital project.

There was an environmental enhancement project also included under the watersheds category, the Pond A8 project, which is part of the restoration of the former Cargill salt ponds. This project will open pond A8 to tidal action, restoring a salt-marsh habitat, scouring sediment from the slough and providing more flood-control capacity for Alviso.

Moving to the water utility side, by far the largest project added to the CIP was the upgrades to the Rinconada Water Treatment Plant. This is a multi-year, $264 million project to move from chlorination to advanced treatment techniques and improve the quality of our Delta water, as well as increase the capacity of the plant and perform ongoing maintenance.

And, pursuant to Board requests, the Stevens Creek Fish Passage Enhancement was moved up by several years. This is part of the Fisheries and Aquatic Habitat Collaborative Effort (FAHCE). This was again the subject of some Board comment. Chair Kamei wondered why it had taken so long to get to this, and staff replied that this particular project was never due to be started until a few years from now, anyway. However, the fact that the best overview on FAHCE that I could find to link to is from 1998 still implies that the whole effort is not moving along as quickly as many people would like.

All worthy projects, to be sure. Trish Mulvey, in a public comment, however, pointed out that there was no discussion of how any of these projects fit into the District’s “No Regrets” portfolio. (And it is another measure of obscurity that the best discussion of this initiative is in a water supply planning study from 2003.)

One Response to “Making plans”

  1. Tim Ramsey Says:

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.

    Tim Ramsey

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Working to build a local, sustainable food system in San José