Valley Water builds a new wetland and restores portion of Llagas Creek

By on November 6, 2020

Valley Water is putting the finishing touches on new wetland habitat in south Santa Clara County. Located at Lake Silveira, Valley Water is planting more than 9,100 native trees, shrubs, and wetland vegetation to support the area’s natural environment and wildlife habitat after winter rains begin to fill the lake.

The project also included restoration of a section of Llagas Creek located in unincorporated Morgan Hill near the San Martin border. Llagas Creek is home to the federally threatened South Central California Coast Steelhead. The restoration re-established flow in the section of Llagas Creek which had been without water for about 40 years.

“This is the largest wetland creation and stream restoration that Valley Water has ever done,” Valley Water Director John L. Varela said. “A lot of freshwater wetlands in our valley have disappeared. This new wetland habitat will be a hidden gem once the lake fills with water, native plants grow, and the native amphibians, reptiles and fish return to the site.”

The new wetland habitat will also help support the Western Pond Turtle, which is listed as “a species of special concern” in California. Ten large wooden structures within the lake were built to allow the turtles to bask in the water while being protected from predators.

“These turtles are rare on the valley floor, and the preservation and enhancement of this habitat will help these reptiles return and persist for future generations,” Director John L. Varela said.

The restoration work at Lake Silveira is just one piece of the Upper Llagas Creek Flood Protection Project. When completed, the project will provide flood protection for approximately 1,100 homes, 500 businesses, and more than 1,300 acres of agricultural land in southern Santa Clara County.