COVID-19 Information:


Learn more about COVID-19, City services, and the Shelter-in-Place Order.  



Cupertino Creeks

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option

Cupertino Creeks                

Information taken from Wikipedia

Calabazas Creek


Calabazas Creek is a 13.3-mile-long northeast by northward-flowing stream originating on Table Mountain in Saratoga, California in Santa Clara County, California, United States. It courses through the cities of Saratoga, San Jose, Cupertino, Santa Clara and Sunnyvale, culminating in the Guadalupe Slough in south San Francisco Bay.

In the Spanish language, calabazas means squash, pumpkins or gourds. The name was especially popular to the south of San Francisco Bay

Habitat and Wildlife 
Steelhead trout occurred historically in Calabazas Creek but have not been seen since the 1970s. There are at least several impassable barriers to migration upstream from the Bay including a 13 foot inclined dam at Comer Drive, and drop structures at Bollinger Road and Rainbow Drive. The latter two have now been removed, and the Comer Dam, which was constructed in 1973 to trap gravel and cement debris from the upstream Cocciardi Quarry (closed for several years now), has raised the creek to within four feet of the underside of Comer Drive bridge, posing a flooding threat to the bridge. The SCVWD removed the threat to the bridge. 

The Calabazas Creek watershed is highly urbanized, predominantly with high-density residential neighborhoods. Areas of heavy industry exist between the Highway 101 and Central Expressway corridors. Commercial development is focused along El Camino Real, Wolfe Road, and Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road. Fish are extremely scarce in the Calabazas Creek upstream of Bollinger Road. Prickly sculpin is the one native species that has been collected and/or observed in Calabazas Creek within the last 20 years. Non-native fishes include Goldfish and Western mosquitofish. 

Watershed Facts 
Watershed area: 20.3 
Number of tributary creeks: 6 
Miles of natural creek bed: 12.9 
Miles of Engineered Channel: 14.1 
Local cities: Santa Clara County, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino, San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara 

Percent area by land use: 
Residential 54.5% 
Industrial/Commercial 29.4% 
Forest 8.8% 
Rangeland 5.2% 
Other 2.1% 
Miles of Underground Culvert or Stormdrain: 55.5 
Water Quality Impairments: Urban Pesticide Toxicity (Diazinon)

Stevens Creek

StevensStevens Creek Is a creek in Santa Clara County, California. The creek originates in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the western flank of Black Mountain in the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, then flows southeasterly through the Stevens Creek County Park before turning northeast into Stevens Creek Reservoir. It then continues north for 12.5 miles through Cupertino, Los Altos, Sunnyvale and Mountain View before emptying into the San Francisco Bay at the Whisman Slough. 


The creek was originally named Arroyo San José de Cupertino (Spanish for Saint Joseph of Cupertino Creek) by Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza, who camped along the creek on his expedition from Monterey to San Francisco. De Anza completed the first overland route to San Francisco Bay when he and Father Pedro Font sighted the bay from a prominent knoll near the entry of Rancho San Antonio County Park. 

The Saint Joseph of Cupertino place name is preserved today in the city of Cupertino to the east and in the Saint Joseph of Cupertino Parish Catholic Church in the city. The Arroyo San José de Cupertino became Cupertino Creek sometime before 1866,but was later re-named for Elijah Stephens (how his name was misspelled is unknown), a South Carolina-born blacksmith and trapper who settled on Cupertino Creek in 1848. Stephens renamed his 160-acre property at the base of Black Mountain "Blackberry Farm". Stephens is notable for being the captain of the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party, the first wagon train to cross the Sierra Nevada (two years before the ill-fated Donner Party). 


Stevens Creek consists of approximately 20 miles of channel, and enters the San Francisco Estuary near Long Point, north of Moffett Field Naval Air Station, at Whisman Slough between Mountain View's Shoreline Park and Stevens Creek Shoreline Nature Study Area. It drains a watershed of about 29 square miles.

There is one major impoundment, Stevens Creek Reservoir at 531 feet of elevation. The reservoir was constructed in 1935 to provide storage capacity of winter runoff that could be used to recharge the Santa Clara valley aquifer. The reservoir is managed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) and has a current capacity of 3,465 acre feet of water.

Stevens Creek Trail 

The Stevens Creek Trail is a 5-mile long bicycle and pedestrian path that runs south continuously from Shoreline Park to Heatherstone Way in Mountain View. Cupertino has now added a 0.7-mile section of trail that runs north along the creek from McClellan Road, then past the 4-H farm and community gardens in McClellan Ranch Park nature preserve and ending (for now) at Blackberry Farm Park. The trail is entirely separated from vehicular traffic, using numerous overcrossings and underpasses. The four cities of Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Los Altos, and Mountain View are cooperating on potential trail alignments with the goal of a completed trail from the Bay to the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Habitat and Conservation 

Stevens Creek is one of the prime steelhead habitats within the county. However, there are significant barriers for this anadromous fish. In a 1994 study, the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) found fish ladders at the Central Expressway and Highway 101 often had insufficient flow and/or were clogged with debris and sediment. In addition, the drop structure at L’Avenida Avenue was impassable in all five years of the study. In August, 2003 the Stevens & Permanente Creeks Watershed Council was officially formed to support stewardship of the watersheds. The SCVWD’s Fish and Aquatic Habitat Collaborative Effort (FAHCE), has recommended removal of the Denil-type fish ladders at Fremont Avenue, Evelyn Avenue, and Moffett Boulevard which tend to clog with debris and are now classified as partial barriers by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). Adjacent to the fish ladder at Moffett Boulevard is a concrete drop structure built in the 1980s which is another obstacle to salmonid passage. The existing concrete-lined channel extending further downstream to Highway 101 (a distance of 450 feet) is flat and low flows cross it as a thin sheet of water over the concrete bottom. At least 6-inch depth of flow is required for adequate fish passage. Although steelhead continue to spawn in lower Stevens Creek, it is doubtful whether young trout can oversummer for one to two years in its drier, hotter lower reaches. In a 2004 report of factors limiting steelhead trout survival, the key recommendation was to improve access for spawning steelhead in the lower reaches of the creek (which gets very warm or even dry in summer) to the upper reaches of Stevens Creek which have perennial flows of colder water. In addition, if the Permanente Creek Diversion Channel could be modified to accommodate steelhead trout in-migration, then several miles of upper Permanente Creek (which currently has a resident rainbow (the landlocked form of steelhead) trout population would be available for spawning. 

The Western Burrowing Owl nests at Shoreline Park near the mouth of Stevens Creek. In 2008, Mountain View evicted a pair of burrowing owls so that it could sell a parcel of land to Google to build a hotel at Shoreline Boulevard and Charleston Road. Eviction of the owls is controversial because the birds regularly reuse burrows for years, and there is no requirement that suitable new habitat be found for the owls. Despite being listed in 1979 as a Species of Special Concern (a pre-listing category under the Endangered Species Act) by the California Department of Fish and Game, California's population declined 60% from the 1980s to the early 90's, and continues to decline at roughly 8% per year. In 1994, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nominated the Western Burrowing Owl as a Federal Category 2 candidate for listing as endangered or threatened, but loss of habitat continues due to development of the flat, grassy lands used by the owl.

Regnart Creek

RegnartRegnart Creek is next to Fremont Older Open Space Preserve and is located in Santa Clara County, California, United States. 

Total length – Approx. 4 miles 

Drainage – Approx. 3.4 square miles 

Tributaries -None, Regnart drains to Calabazas Creek 

Headwaters –Fremont older open space reserve 

Saratoga Creek

Most of Saratoga Creek contains natural channel with some modifications (e.g., gabion walls) and a few sections of hardened channel. Saratoga Creek was originally called Arroyo Quito and then Campbell Creek after immigrant William Campbell, who operated a sawmill in 1848 in "Campbell's Redwoods" about three miles west of Saratoga, California, and also a stage station in 1852. The town of Campbell was founded by his son, Benjamin Campbell, in 1885. Other names for the creek included Big Moody Creek and San Jon Creek. The Board of Geographic Names officially decided on Saratoga Creek in May, 1954. 

Watershed Saratoga

Saratoga Creek originates on the northeastern slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains along Castle Rock Ridge at an elevation of 3,100 feet. The mainstem flows for approximately 4.5 miles in an eastern direction through forested terrain, largely contained within Sanborn County Park. It continues for about 1.5 miles through the low-density residential foothill region of the City of Saratoga and then for another 8 miles along the alluvial plain of the Santa Clara Valley, through the cities of San Jose and Santa Clara characterized by high-density residential neighborhoods. Saratoga Creek now joins San Tomas Aquino Creek shortly before joining the Guadalupe Slough and South San Francisco Bay. 

However, historically San Tomas Aquino Creek and Calabazas Creek were tributaries to Saratoga Creek, which was in turn a tributary of the Guadalupe River upstream of Alviso. Saratoga Creek and Calabazas Creek were disconnected from the Guadalupe River, and San Tomas Aquino Creek was extended directly into Guadalupe Slough by 1876, making Saratoga Creek its tributary. Calabazas Creek was detached from Saratoga Creek and re-routed directly into Guadalupe Slough at this time as well.



Saratoga Creek Trail follows the creek from Bollinger Road to Prospect Road in west San Jose. The trail system is adjacent to Lawrence Expressway, but the trail permits views of the creek and well-planted riparian and landscaped areas. Murdock Park is accessible from two pedestrian bridges which also allow walkers to follow a circular route along both sides of the creek (note: one bridge does not offer Universal Access, requiring that users climb steps). Users can access the trail at the end of English Drive, at Murdock Park or at Bollinger Road and Lawrence Expressway.


Habitat and Conservation 

Historically Steelhead trout migrated from San Francisco Bay to spawn in Saratoga Creek and its tributaries. An 1877 report in the Sportsman Gazetteer touted the Congress Springs ("Congress Hall") tributary to San Franciscans for trout fishing. J. O. Snyder reported steelhead trout in Campbell Creek (now Saratoga Creek) in 1905. An impassable barrier at the confluence of San Tomas Aquino and Saratoga Creeks prevents salmonid fish passage to both creeks. However, rainbow trout of steelhead origin are still found in Saratoga Creek. Recent genetic analysis has shown that the surviving rainbow trout are of native origin and not hatchery stock. 

Recently, three of the originally native fish species have been collected from the creek including California roach Sacramento sucker and Rainbow trout (landlocked form of steelhead trout). 

The upper portions of the Saratoga Creek watershed are vegetated with broadleaved upland forest, especially mixed evergreen forest, including Coast redwood and Coast Douglas fir and chaparral. Common riparian tree species along the upper reaches of Saratoga Creek include White alder, Big Leaf maple and California bay. Native riparian plant species occurring along the lower portions of Saratoga Creek (from Monroe Street to Lawrence Expressway) include arroyo willow, box elder, Fremont cottonwood, western sycamore, red willow, yellow willow, blue elderberry, coffeeberry, coyote brush, and mule fat. Nonnative weedy species are common.


Permanente Creek (not a Cupertino Creek, but a very small portion runs through the unincorporated Cupertino area)

Permanente Creek is a 13.3-mile-long (21.4 km) stream originating on Black Mountain in Santa Clara County, California, United States. The creek comes from the hills and flows through Los Altos and Mountain View. Permanente Creek is the namesake for the Kaiser Permanente health maintenance organization. Named by early Spanish explorers as Arroyo Permanente or Rio Permanente because of its perennial flow, the creek descends the east flank of Black Mountain then courses north through Los Altos and Mountain View culminating in southwest San Francisco Bay historically at the Charleston Slough but now diverted to the Mountain View Slough. Only a small portion of the creek runs through the Cupertino unincorporated area.


The Ohlone Indians lived in the area for over 3,000 years prior to the arrival of the Europeans. A large village, known as Partacsi, was located in this general area. An expedition led by Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza passed through this area in March 1776 as he forged the first overland route from Monterey to San Francisco Bay. Mission Santa Clara de Asis was founded in October of the same year, where many of the local Indians were taken. Governor Alvarado granted Rancho San Antonio to Juan Prado Mesa in 1839. This 440-acre (1.8 km2) rancho was bounded by Adobe Creek to the north and Stevens Creek to the south, and included Permanente Creek. On a diseño of Rancho San Antonio in 1839 Permanente Creek is shown as Arroyo Permanente. Mesa had been a soldier at the Presidio of San Francisco since 1828, served as a corporal in the Santa Clara Guard, and had won fame as a soldier and Indian fighter. Mesa died in 1845. 

Permanente Creek is also the namesake for Kaiser Permanente. Bess Kaiser and her spouse, industrialist Henry J. Kaiser, had a lodge on the creek's headwaters above the large Permanente Quarry and Cement Plant, and, in 1945, Bess felt that the name of their attractive and dependable stream would be a good name for their medical program at the shipyards. That medical program became Kaiser Permanente.

From its origination at 2,421 feet (738 m) in headwaters protected by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District just north of the peak of Black Mountain (and just east of the Black Mountain Trail), Permanente Creek descends along the Permanente Quarry (currently known as the Lehigh Southwest Cement Plant and Quarry), and continues easterly through unincorporated County land for about five miles, then turns to the north at the base of the foothills and continues another eight miles along the valley floor. It has two major tributaries, the West Fork Permanente Creek and Hale Creek. West Fork Permanente Creek and its Wildcat Canyon tributary were formerly known as Ohlone Creek. West Fork Permanente Creek begins on the east side of 1,253-foot Ewing Hill, and runs easterly until it reaches the connector from the Chamise and Rogue Valley Trails where an earthen dam forms High Meadow Pond (aka Rogue Valley Pond). Below the pond, the West Fork is joined by 1.7-mile long Wildcat Canyon Creek at Deer Hollow Farm, and continues on its run (3.2-mile total) to the Permanente Creek mainstem which it joins 0.5 miles south of Interstate 280. Flows are perennial in the upper watershed but ephemeral on the valley floor, with the exception of the Hale Creek tributary, which manages a minimal flow through the summer. The creek consists of approximately 13.3 miles of channel draining a watershed area of 17.5 square miles.


Need to Adapt Investigative Order to New Site Developments

On April 24, 2013, the Discharger entered in to a Consent Decree with the Sierra Club in United States District Court for the Northern District of California. As part of the Consent Decree, the Discharger has agreed to perform extensive creek restoration in Permanente Creek, and will also improve the quality of its wastewater discharge through installation of treatment facilities. The January 2013 Investigative Order (R2-2013-0005) did not contemplate these developments. The Regional Board is issuing this modified Investigative Order to update requirements in order to collect necessary technical information to aid the creek restoration and treatment facility projects. Click here to see the complete Tentative Order

Other Orders and Requirements of the Regional Board are still in effect:

This Order does not supersede, but supplements the Discharger’s obligations under prior Orders issued by the Regional Water Quality Control Board. Components of this Order may be superseded by future individual NPDES Permit requirements for the Permanente Facility. Issuance of this Revised Order does not affect the Discharger’s ongoing obligation to comply with the deadlines contained in the original Investigative Order (R2-2013-0005). Except where modified the existing requirements and legal enforceability of R2-2013-0005 are not superseded or affected by issuance of this Order.

Guide to San Francisco Bay Area Creeks


Creek & Watershed Map of West Santa Clara Valley

 A watershed is a land area that drains rain and other water into a creek, river, lake, wetland, bay, or groundwater aquifer. Watersheds are where we live and work. Click here for the West Santa Clara Valley Creek & Watershed Map.