Calabazas Watershed

The Calabazas Creek watershed covers an area of approximately 20 square miles. This 13.3 mile long creek originates from the northeast-facing slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains and flow into the Lower South San Francisco Bay via the Guadalupe Slough. Major tributaries to Calabazas Creek include Prospect, Rodeo, and Regnart Creeks. Additional sources of water to Calabazas Creek include the El Camino storm drain (and the Junipero Serra Channel). The Creek traverses through a small portion of unincorporated County land, and flows through the cities of Saratoga, Cupertino, Sunnyvale, San Jose, and Santa Clara. The upper reaches of Calabazas Creek, where it passes through unincorporated County jurisdiction, and into Saratoga, are rural and the creek is relatively untouched.

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.

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
  • Beneficial Uses: Cold Freshwater Habitat (COLD), Warm Freshwater Habitat (WARM), Wildlife Habitat (WILD), Water Contact Recreation (REC-1), and Noncontact Water Recreation (REC-2)
  • Water Quality Impairments: Urban Pesticide Toxicity (Diazinon)

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