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Crews Remove Giant Reeds Along Coyote Creek For Flood Prevention

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Concerns over flooding that overwhelmed the banks of the Coyote Creek in the South Bay eight months ago has led officials to clear out vegetation as a preventive measure.

Commonly known as giant reed, the invasive plant species can cause some giant-sized problems when it clogs rivers and streams.

It contributed to last winter's catastrophic flooding at Coyote Creek in San Jose.

"It takes over and grows in dense thickets. And it can trap debris and vegetation and trees as they move downstream during flood events," explained Santa Clara Valley Water District spokesperson Jennifer Codianne.

The water district has hired crews to remove giant reed and other non-native plants from the banks of Coyote Creek. The clean-up can't come soon enough for some residents of the Golden Wheel Mobile Home Park, which flooded last winter.

"The people on the other end of the park got it severely. It looked like a lake for here all the way down," said Golden Wheel Resident Alexander Torres.

While Torres and his home were spared in by flood, he worries about the creek that runs behind his home and wonders if removing vegetation will be enough.

"I didn't realize how deep that thing [the channel] was," said Torres. "You stand by the bridge and look down and think, 'Holy cow, that's deep!'"

Santa Clara Valley Water District Vice-Chairman Richard Santos insisted the plant removal will help significantly.

"We know that it does work," said Santos. "It's just like if you had a bowl filled with water and you dumped a bunch of grass into it, it's going to overflow. It has an impact."

The plant is resilient. One area that KPIX 5 cameras had taken video of that was cut a few weeks ago already showed signs of growing back.

Coyote Creek meanders through city and water district property as well as private property, which can also make maintaining it a challenge.

"It's not uniformly maintained. We do what we can on our property," said Codianne. "However, we don't have the rights to remove vegetation on private property."

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