Stanford plans to remove Lagunita Dam | March 2, 2018 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 2, 2018

Stanford plans to remove Lagunita Dam

Restoration of San Francisquito Creek habitat for endangered fish could begin this summer

by Sue Dremann

Stanford University officials are looking at tearing down Lagunita Dam and restoring habitat for endangered steelhead in the San Francisquito Creek. The university is seeking approval from Santa Clara County officials for its architecture-and-site plan and grading.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at


9 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 2, 2018 at 12:16 pm

Marie is a registered user.

What is the opinion of the Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority(SFCJPA) and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Control Board (WCB) on this plan. These opinions are missing from this otherwise wonderful article. The WCB has been vocal about the need for upstream improvements to reduce the impact of flooding (most notably in 1998) of the San Francisquito Creek.

The article above includes "5.50-acre terraced floodplain on the Alpine side" which is very encouraging. Now we need to hear from SFCJPA and WSB to see if this is sufficient. If so, this is a major win-win.

It would be great if the PA Weekly will follow up with an article on the reaction of the SFCJPA and the WCB on Stanford's plan to remove the Lagunita Dam.

The Lagunita Dam. IMHO, is a great example of how dams don't prevent flooding and can in fact worsen the impact, as they fill up with sediment.

From a recent great article by PA Online discussing these issues:
Web Link

Below are relevant quotes from the Feb. 3 2018 article.

"The Regional Quality Control Board, in a Jan. 18 letter to Materman, made clear it wants the JPA to address the Searsville-induced sediment in its Draft Environmental Impact Report."

"The Water Board wanted to link changes to Searsville four years ago when JPA sought a permit for the flood project's first phase from the bay to Highway 101. At that time, the JPA argued that if Stanford modifies the dam, the university would be responsible for addressing the impacts of their project. Stanford has said it recognizes its responsibility in writing, he said."

Below is a link is to the 2014 report from the WCB asking for more info before approving the SFCJPA flood control plan, including its concerns about upstream improvements. They later approved the project which is currently ongoing, replacing a bridge under 101, which included reconfiguring the PA golf course.

Web Link

PA Weekly's article on this issue in 2014:

Web Link

6 people like this
Posted by Lyle
a resident of Menlo Park
on Mar 5, 2018 at 3:32 pm

Stanford has fought removing this harmful and unused dam for 2 decades. Only a lawsuit and judge order forced them to take it out. The same will happen with Searsville Dam upstream. It’s too bad the university doesn’t take the initiative and save a lot of time and other people’s money. This is great news for our creek. Let’s see how much longer Stanford drags their feet on doing the same at Searsville.

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