SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — A new project aimed to provide flood protection in the South Bay is officially underway.

On Thursday, the first phase of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Project between the Alviso Slough/Guadalupe River and Coyote Creek broke ground. Valley Water, the State Coastal Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) held a ceremony to commemorate the construction of the project.

“Many of our communities along the shoreline will reap the benefits of this project and we look forward to continued progress on the second and third phases of the project as well,” said Valley Water 2022 Board Chair Pro Tem John L. Varela. “It’s an effort made possible first and foremost by the public, who have repeatedly backed ballot measures for flood protection and environmental restoration projects.”

The project aims to significantly reduce the risk of flooding in North San Jose. Without the project, officials say the flood risk will continue to increase as a result of sea-level rise from climate change. This will be the first project in Santa Clara County built to protect the southern end of the South San Francisco Bay Shoreline.

The San Francisco Restoration Authority approved funding for the project twice, once in 2018 for $4,439,406 and again in 2019 for $57,026,673 over a five-year period, both to the Santa Clara Valley Water District for the design and implementation of the project.

“California is leading the world to reduce our carbon pollution to show that we can maintain prosperity as the fifth largest economy in the world and build a more equitable state as we transition from fossil fuels and transition into carbon neutrality,” said Wade Crowfoot, California’s Natural Resources Secretary.

“But now we know at the same time we have to build our climate resilience, which means our ability to adapt and weather these climate impacts,” Crowfoot added.

“One of those impacts being coastal flooding.”

The shoreline project will look to restore 2,900 acres of former salt evaporation ponds, and improve public access in the Alviso area by addressing the need for tidal wetland restoration, flood protection, and improved recreation connections in the South Bay.

Each part of the Bay Area continues to grapple with the drought in their own matters as some have already begun to ask their residents to reduce their water usage while other water suppliers announced plans to increase fees.

“We have a grave responsibility to take action with urgency,” said Crowfoot.

To learn more about the project, click here.