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Bayfront Canal Flood Management and Habitat Restoration Project

Project URL link
Sponsoring Agency City of Redwood City
Subregions ('West Bay',)
Counties San Mateo
Watershed Tributary Bayfront Canal, Flood Slough, SF Bay
Public or private land? ('Public', 'Private')
Location (lat/lon) 37.486792 , -122.178239
Start Date
End Date
Location Description The project location is at the discharge point of the Bayfront Canal to Flood Slough, and involves Ponds S5 & R5 north of Highway 84 and east of Marsh Road.

The City of Redwood City is partnering with the Coastal Conservancy to integrate the Salt Pond Restoration Project with the Bayfront Canal/Atherton Channel Flood Improvement Project. This integrated project will direct stormwater to Ponds S5 & R5 to enhance the habitat as well as serve as stormwater detention for the Bayfront Canal and Atherton Channel drainage areas.

  The City of Redwood City is partnering with the Coastal Conservancy to integrate the Salt Pond Restoration Project with the Bayfront Canal/Atherton Channel Flood Improvement Project.
The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project is the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast.  When complete, the project will restore 15,100 acres of industrial salt ponds to tidal wetlands and other habitats.
  This integrated project will direct stormwater to Ponds S5 & R5 to enhance the habitat as well as serve as stormwater detention for the Bayfront Canal and Atherton Channel drainage areas.
Drinking Water Supply
Water Quality Improvement
Water Reuse/Recycling
Stormwater Improvements
Groundwater Benefits
Infiltration
Habitat Protection and Restoration
Flood Protection
Flood protection is increased by routing storm flows from the over-capacity Bayfront Canal to the salt ponds as detention. Storm flows from the Bayfront Canal will enhance the habitat quality of the salt ponds, positively contributing to the salt pond restoration effort.
This project utilizes effective stormwater management to enhance habitat restoration.
Currently, this project is already a multi-beneficial project.
Yes, this is currently already a collaborative partnership project involving Redwood City, the State Coastal Conservancy, and the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge.
Yes, the stormwater runoff is routed to detention ponds before discharging to the Bay, which will reduce stormwater contaminants to the Bay.

Part 2 - Detail

The Bayfront Canal, maintained by Redwood City through easement, is the single stormwater transmission canal for the Atherton Channel and six drainage basins, discharging through a single outlet to Flood Slough and into the Bay.  In addition to Redwood City, neighboring jurisdictions including unincorporated San Mateo County, the cities of Atherton and Menlo Park, and the Town of Woodside, all generate runoff into the Bayfront Canal via flows from the Atherton Channel and/or other drainage basins. Flooding occurs in the neighborhoods and communities around and near the Bayfront Canal and Atherton Channel.  During storms that coincide with high tides, the Canal and Channel cannot discharge sufficient stormwater flows to the Bay because of tide gate limitations.  Depending on the intensity of the storm, the Canal and the Channel do not have enough detention capacity to prevent flooding in low lying areas. 

This project proposes to route flood flows from the Bayfront Canal and Atherton Channel into the managed ponds that are part of the Ravenswood Pond Complex and the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration project. Ponds S5 & R5 of the Ravenswood pond complex currently are managed ponds adjacent to Bayfront Park and Flood Slough, and flood flows from the Canal will be bypassed around the Flood Slough tide gate and routed into these ponds to facilitate the development of a seasonal wetlands habit and help mitigate the flooding problem.

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  • Bayfront Canal and South Bay Salt Ponds S5/R5 Flood Mitigation Feasibility Study, by Moffatt & Nichol, May 22, 2012.
  • Opportunities and Constraints for Ravenswood Pond Complex, South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration, Phase II, by URS, June 28, 2012.
  • Bayfront Canal
  • Atherton Channel
  • Flood Slough
  • SF Bay
  • Ravenswood Pond Complex
This project will mitigate chronic and widespread flooding in the Bayfront Canal (Redwood City) and Atherton Channel (Menlo Park) neighborhoods.  In addition, the project will provide a source of fresh water to enhance and restore the habitat of the ponds in the Ravenswood complex.  It will also reduce contaminants from urban runoff to the Bay by detaining the stormwater in the ponds before discharge to the Bay. 

If the project is not implemented the neighborhoods in Redwood City, Menlo Park, and unincorporated San Mateo County will continue to experience chronic and widespread flooding.  In addition, the salt ponds will not have the opportunity to gain a source of fresh water to enhance the pond's habitat, which can potentially hinder the habitat restoration of the ponds.


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i. Water Quality - The project will reduce contaminants from urban runoff to the Bay by detaining the stormwater in the ponds before discharge to the Bay.

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ii. Flood and Stormwater Management - Flood mitigation and enhance stormwater management can be achieved by this project by utilizing the adjacent ponds as stormwater detention.

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iii. Resource Stewardship (watershed management, habitat protection and restoration, recreation, open space, etc.) - This project will provide a source of fresh water (from stormwater runoff) to enhance and restore the habitat of the ponds in the Ravenswood complex.  This project demonstrates an unique opportunity to mitigate flooding and enhance habitat restoration.

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Increases Water Supply Reliability
Advances/ Expands Conjunctive Management of Multiple Water Supply Sources
Increases Water Use and/or Reuse Efficiency
Provides Additional Water Supply
Promotes Water Quality Protection
Reduces Water Demand
Advances/Expands Water Recycling
Promotes Urban Runoff Reuse
Addresses Sea Level Rise
Addresses other Anticipated Climate Change Impact (e.g. through water management system modifications)
Improves Flood Control (e.g. through wetlands restoration, management, protection)
Promotes Habitat Protection
Establishes Migration Corridors
Re-establishes River-Floodplain Hydrologic Continuity
Re-introduces Anadromous Fish Populations to Upper Watersheds
Enhances and Protects Upper Watershed Forests and Meadow Systems
Other (Please Describe)
Increases Water Use Efficiency or Promotes Energy-Efficient Water Demand Reduction
Improves Water System Energy Efficiency
Advances/Expands Water Recycling
Promotes Urban Runoff Reuse
Promotes Use of Renewable Energy Sources
Contributes to Carbon Sequestration (e.g. through vegetation growth)
Other (Please Describe)
$1,500,000(low) - $2,500,000(high)
Capital Improvement fund
Capital Improvement Fund
Drought Preparedness
Use and Reuse Water More Efficiently
Climate Change Response Actions (Adaptation to Climate Change, Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Reduce Energy Consumption)
Expand Environmental Stewardship
Practice Integrated Flood Management
Protect Surface and Groundwater Quality
Improve Tribal Water and Natural Resources
Ensure Equitable Distribution of Benefits
Reduce Reliance on the Bay-Delta
Reduce Water Demand
Improved Operational Efficiency and Transfers
Increase Water Supply
Improve Water Quality
Improve Flood Management
Practice Resources Stewardship
Other Strategies (Please Describe)
Groundwater Management Plan
Urban Water Management Plan
Water Meter Requirements
Groundwater Monitoring Requirements
AB 1420 Compliance
BMP Compliance
CEQA Compliance
Water supply reliability, water conservation and water use efficiency
Stormwater capture, storage, clean-up, treatment, and management
Removal of invasive non-native species, the creation and enhancement of wetlands, and the acquisition, protection, and restoration of open space and watershed lands
Non-point source pollution reduction, management and monitoring
Groundwater recharge and management projects
Contaminant and salt removal through reclamation, desalting, and other treatment technologies and conveyance of reclaimed water for distribution to users
Water banking, exchange, reclamation and improvement of water quality
Planning and implementation of multipurpose flood management programs
Watershed protection and management
Drinking water treatment and distribution
Ecosystem and fisheries restoration and protection
Reduced Reliance on the Bay-Delta
Projects that directly address a critical water quality or supply issue in a DAC
Urban water suppliers implementing certain BMPs as on page 17 of Guidelines
Be designed to manage stormwater runoff to reduce flood damage (PRC §5096.827)
Be consistent with the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Plans (Basin Plans) (PRC §5096.827)
Not be a part of the State Plan of Flood Control (SPFC) (PRC §5096.827)

Project team

Part 3 - Benefits