IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH THE ONE WATER PLAN – COYOTE WATERSHED

The process of identifying opportunities on a scale as large as Coyote Watershed in Santa Clara County but at a level detailed enough to encourage development of specific projects is no small task. To accomplish this, the District is taking a two-pronged approach for identifying opportunities to pursue (see A and B below). We will then prioritize these opportunities using science-based metrics in developing final recommendations to the District’s Board of Directors (see C below).

Step A: Soliciting Input
Under the One Water approach of integrated water resources management on a watershed scale, the District’s project team has been collecting input from stakeholders and staff regarding water resource-related challenges faced by people and the environment around them in the Coyote Watershed portion of Santa Clara County. We solicited external input through the One Water Stakeholder Work Group from 2016 to 2017, as well as additional meetings with specific interest groups and neighborhoods.

Step B: Collecting and Analyzing Geographic Data
The District has a long history of collecting useful information in the field, prior to and following projects, as well as working with many partners to ensure we have the best available data. The One Water team has compiled a substantial data warehouse from these sources. This data has now become the center of our digital mapping analysis; we are using it to create a ‘heat map’ showing where conditions suggest opportunities for improvements that could help meet the One Water objectives. This analysis begins with all data being considered of equal importance, but is currently under review to add weighting to highlight data layers critical to supporting a particular objective(s). Areas in which several sources of data overlap, may highlight a need for improvement and warrant a multi-objective project.

Step C: Combine Stakeholder Input with Available Data to Develop Projects
Combining outputs from Steps A and B allows staff to identify those geographic locations where available data and potential opportunities intersect across the landscape. Where there is overlap between available data and stakeholder input, we note this as a potential “project area.”

What’s Next
The next step (which is currently underway by District staff) is further refining project areas into reasonable sizes and locations that might yield multiple benefits. (The red circles on the map above represent our first attempt at this.) District staff then must scope these project areas as actual projects, review them for general feasibility, describe how they meet related One Water metrics, screen and prioritize them, and present the refined list to decision makers. If you have any questions or feedback on this update, please contact Brian Mendenhall at onewater@valleywater.org.

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