This study produced GIS layers and a report describing historical habitats in the Guadalupe, West Valley, and Lower Peninsula Watershed Management Areas of Santa Clara County (the valley floor from Palo Alto to San Jose). Our mapping documents an array of habitats and channels (ca. 1800) over nearly 100,000 acres in western Santa Clara Valley, presenting the first detailed, comprehensive, well-documented historical mapping of the region.

This report is part of a coordinated project to build a set of data, analyses, and technical reports about historical landscape change in the Santa Clara County watersheds draining to San Francisco Bay. This foundation effort for local restoration and planning is supported by a grant from the Silicon Valley Pollution Prevention Center. The project is designed to expand upon the existing historical ecology studies carried out through the SCVWD Watershed Stewardship Project in 2004-5, the Coyote Creek Historical Ecology Study, and the South Santa Clara Valley Historical Ecology Study. This project provides seamless geographic coverage of georectified historical imagery and GIS, a supporting database, and a technical synthesis report covering the Guadalupe, West Valley, and Lower Peninsula watersheds.

Data and analysis developed by the project has contributed to the Watershed Stewardship Project for the Guadalupe, West Valley, and Lower Peninsula Watersheds, to the SFEI-Oakland Museum map publication: Baylands and Creeks of South San Francisco Bay, and to concurrent watershed planning and assessment efforts.

Project Status

Completed November 2010

Download the Report

Download GIS Data

This dataset includes Santa Clara Valley and adjacent baylands
ESRI ArcMap 10 file geodatabase (.gdb) format
Historical Habitats, Channels and Distributaries. (15.1 MB)

The Santa Clara Valley Water District's Watching Our Watersheds (WOW) project has adapted Historical Ecology data into Google Earth (KMZ) format. Adapted versions of SFEI's mapping of the Santa Clara Valley are available for download:

Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program
Historical Ecology
Location Information