SAN JOSE (KRON) — Swamped by floodwaters when Coyote Creek jumped it’s banks at Kelly Park last week, virtually every square inch of lower Happy Hollow Zoo is being disinfected and cleared of the mud that covered everything. The damage is heavy says general manager Nicolle Burnham of Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.
“Between flooding in the zoo and the lower zoo, we had flood water depths of we think up to five feet. In the Japanese Friendship area of Kelly Park we had water in our pump station over seven feet in elevation. So our pump station is completely gone, our tea house in the Japanese Friendship was flooded with three to four feet of water,” Burnham said.
All the animals in the lower zoo had to be evacuated to higher ground, including the Meerkats, who are now residing in a bathroom. There were no casualties but the crisis was very stressful to the animals nonetheless says zookeeper Kelly Walsh.
“All the activity was a little stressful for them. They knew the water was coming, they could hear it. And being put in different places is a little stressful,” Walsh said.
Even the fish were not safe. Sure to have perished in the flood, about three dozen prized Koi were trapped and relocated to a higher pond. Crews are clearing the debris left behind when the creek retreated. A hundred volunteers are on the job but there is a lot to do.
“Most of the work we need to do now is in Kelly Park and along Coyote Creek. So we are doing litter removal, we’re doing mud removal still. We’re pressure washing walk ways just to try to get the park back open,” Burnham said.
It’s not just Kelly Park. Damage to public property, including the soccer fields at Watson Park, which are covered with dried mud and will likely have to be replaced. It has been pegged at 23 million dollars and counting.
Scores of trees are down and there is widespread road damage. The Coyote Ranch Road in south San Jose, virtually washed away by the flood.
— @Rob Fladeboe kron4 (@KRON4RFladeboe) March 2, 2017