Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order Compliance Project (FOCP) – Minor Modification to North Channel Restoration


SCH Number
Public Agency
Santa Clara Valley Water District
Document Title
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order Compliance Project (FOCP) – Minor Modification to North Channel Restoration
Document Type
NOE - Notice of Exemption
Document Description
The FOCP was approved by the Valley Water Board of Directors on June 23, 2020, and a Notice of Exemption was filed with the County Clerk-Recorder. As part of FOCP, a minor modification, which is not specifically defined in the original FOCP project description, is necessary to comply with the FERC Order. The design of the North Channel restoration through the historic creek alignment has been refined to include grading through County Parks and private property and reconnecting the channel to the Coyote Creek confluence with the South Channel downstream, followed by revegetation of disturbed areas. Valley Water will acquire property interest in five properties not listed in the original approval (APN 72834020, 72824021, 72835001, 72835022, and 72948005) to implement this work. Future releases from Anderson Reservoir would be managed between the channels to direct larger flows through the restored North Channel, limiting flows within the South Channel. This would minimize the potential for erosion and support salmonid spawning within the South Channel, while minimizing fish stranding throughout the restored North Channel where deep holes would be graded out. Grading would include facilitation of access for channel maintenance and include the establishment of a sediment injection point for the potential placement of sediment that would be mobilized by high flows for improving downstream substrate conditions. The acquisition of the properties and additional construction work are necessary to construct the North Channel Restoration and comply with the FERC emergency order.

Contact Information

Tiffany Chao
Agency Name
Santa Clara Valley Water District
Job Title
Senior Environmental Planner
Contact Types
Lead/Public Agency / Project Applicant / Parties Undertaking Project


Morgan Hill
Santa Clara
Northern California
Coyote Creek

Notice of Exemption

Exempt Status
Statutory Exemption
Type, Section or Code
Pub. Res. Code §21080(b)(4); CEQA Guidelines §15269(c)
Reasons for Exemption
The FOCP qualified for a Statutory Exemption for specific actions necessary to prevent or mitigate an emergency under Pub. Res. Code § 21080(b)(4) and CEQA Guidelines §15269(c). CEQA (Pub. Res. Code § 21060.3) defines an “emergency” as a sudden, unexpected occurrence, involving a clear and imminent danger, demanding immediate action to prevent or mitigate loss of, or damage to, life, health, property, or essential public services. Dam failure leading to catastrophic flooding would be a “sudden unexpected occurrence” were it to occur. FERC’s dam safety order reflects a regulatory determination that seismic risks associated with Anderson Dam and the existing outlet constitute an emergency situation that requires immediate action by Valley Water. Immediate action to prevent flood damage is required because, as recognized by FERC and confirmed by Valley Water studies, the magnitude of the risk of catastrophic dam failure to downstream life is extreme. Each of the FOCP components is necessary for an integrated emergency response to the FERC Order, both to mitigate the potential for a catastrophic dam failure, and to avoid and minimize environmental, flood management, groundwater recharge, and water supply impacts of such emergency response actions. Because the North Channel restoration property acquisition and additional construction work described below is required to complete FOCP implementation, it is subject to the same emergency statutory exemption as the original FOCP.
County Clerk
Santa Clara


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