Multi-Award-Winning Fish Passage Now More Pertinent than Ever

VTA News

CONTACT:   Bernice Alaniz                                            FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cell:  (408) 888-9983                                                      Release NR 14 01 05
Bernice.                                                  January 28, 2014

Multi-Award-Winning Fish Passage Now More Pertinent than Ever

Mitigation Project Wins Second Award

Alum Rock Fish Passage

San Jose, Calif.— After the driest year on record for Santa Clara County, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA)’s efforts to benefit threatened Central California Coast steelhead trout are making a difference.

The Alum Rock Fish Passage Project, which allows fish better access along the Upper Penitencia Creek in San Jose’s Alum Rock Park, has helped fish swim upstream during a time of very low water flow.

The project is an environmental mitigation for the Mission Warren Area Improvements Project, a support project for VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Extension, and was recently named the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Region 9 Environmental Project Award winnerThe Alum Rock Fish Passage was ranked highest in the environmental engineering category for ASCE’s 2013 Outstanding Projects by a panel of judges from all four ASCE sections of Region 9, representing California. The Alum Rock Fish Passage project was named the 2013 Small Project of the Year by the ASCE San Francisco Section last year.

“The Alum Rock Fish Passage project is a great example of how VTA’s planning and engineering design, together with input from the community, promotes best practices in sustainability and protecting the environment,” said VTA General Manager Nuria Fernandez.

The project included creek restoration, erosion repair, and floodplain expansion.

"The Alum Rock Fish Passage Project is an example of a successful partnership between the City of San Jose and VTA. The City of San Jose is extremely pleased with the outcome of the project and looks forward to working with VTA and other regional partners on future environmental projects," said Julie Edmonds-Mares, Director of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services.

The Alum Rock Fish Passage Project involved a team of engineers, planners, biologists, archeologists, and construction workers to work together to remove a nearly impassable fish barrier, expand a floodplain, conduct erosion repair, and remove non-native vegetation. The new floodplain improves the habitat for steelhead by providing refuge during high flows. An abutment that provides bank stabilization to preserve a 1930’s historic bridge was also built. Construction, including replanting of native plants, lasted through Spring 2013.

The ASCE will formally honor VTA’s Alum Rock Fish Passage Project, along with other project winners, during its California Infrastructure Symposium and Awards Ceremony in San Francisco on Friday, March 14, 2014. VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Extension Chief Officer Carolyn Gonot is scheduled to speak to ASCE members prior to the awards banquet.

VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Extension

VTA’s Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Silicon Valley Extension is a 16-mile extension of the existing BART system to San Jose, Milpitas and Santa Clara, which will be delivered through a phased approach. The first phase, the Berryessa Extension, is a 10-mile, two-station extension, beginning in Fremont south of the future BART Warm Springs Station and proceeding in the former Union Pacific Railroad right-of-way through Milpitas, the location of the first station, and then to the Berryessa area of north San Jose, at the second station. VTA continues project development activities for the second 6-mile phase of the project that includes a 5.1 mile-long subway tunnel through downtown San Jose, and ends at grade in Santa Clara near the Caltrain Station. Construction on the second phase of the project will commence as additional funding is secured.

For more information about VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Extension, please contact VTA Community Outreach at (408) 934-2662, (TTY only) (408) 321-2330, or visit

About VTA

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) is an independent special district that provides sustainable, accessible, community-focused transportation options that are innovative, environmentally responsible, and promote the vitality of our region.  VTA is responsible for bus, light rail and paratransit operations and also serves as the county’s congestion management agency. As such, VTA is responsible for countywide transportation planning, including congestion management issues, specific highway improvement projects, pedestrian and bicycle improvement projects, and provides these services throughout the county, including the municipalities of Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga and Sunnyvale.  VTA continually builds partnerships to deliver transportation solutions that meet the evolving mobility needs of Santa Clara County.