Replacement of “Probation Tank” expected to begin in mid-2018; Permit establishes a funding source for Sandhills habitat protection

The San Lorenzo Valley Water District (SLVWD) has received a needed permit from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to construct a replacement for the leaking Probation Tank, located off Graham Hill Road.

“After a long wait, we are excited to be able to finally move forward with replacement of the Probation Tank,” said District Manager Brian Lee. “The District and our customers are anxious to stop the leaks happening with the current tank.”

The project consists of replacing the existing 100,000-gallon redwood storage tank with a 527,000-gallon welded-steel storage tank, as well as an 8-foot-wide maintenance access path around the tank, two retaining walls, drainage improvements and utility upgrades. Construction on the $1.95 million project is expected to begin in summer or fall 2018. Timing will be determined in large part by approval of U.S. Department of Agriculture loans for construction, as well as the end of the “flight season” of the endangered June Beetle.

The tank replacement is a key capital improvement project among many others completed or in process that, combined, total $16.85 million since 2014 in infrastructure upgrades to the District’s 76-year-old water system. Learn more about the District’s progress on infrastructure upgrades.

The USFWS permit also establishes a mitigation bank, which is a funding source that acts to preserve, enhance and restore a 6.7-acre habitat conservation area. The associated habitat conservation easement will compensate for the expected adverse impacts to similar nearby ecosystems, specifically the site of the probation tank. The easement will encompass the highest-quality sand parkland habitat at the District’s Olympia Wellfield (watershed). The area will now have a permanent source of funds to protect, manage and monitor endangered species and their habitat.

The mitigation bank will also be used to mitigate future water system infrastructure projects that impact Sandhills habitat. The District will establish an endowment to fund long-term management and monitoring on a portion of the habitat set aside within five years. Until the endowment is fully funded, the District will fund the annual management and monitoring from its annual operations budget.



The San Lorenzo Valley Water District is located in the mountains of northern Santa Cruz County. The district serves more than 7,800 metered connections. Established in 1941, the district supplies water to the communities of Boulder Creek, Brookdale, Ben Lomond, Zayante, Scotts Valley, Mañana Woods, Felton and Lompico. For more information, visit or Facebook.