Livermore Airport Improvements

Livermore Airport improvements will also mean a facelift for city golf course.

LIVERMORE — Las Positas Golf Course is about to receive a major face-lift as part of a plan to improve roadways and flood control around the Livermore
Airport. Construction, which has been in planning for more than four years, is expected to begin in June, said City Engineer Cheri Sheets.

To improve access to the south side of the municipal airport, relieve freeway congestion and provide connections to the upcoming outlet mall at Interstate 580 and El Charro Road, Jack London Boulevard will be extended two miles. It will go from just west of Isabel Avenue along the south side of the airport to El Charro Road.

Also, flood control improvements will include a southern conveyance facility covering 40 acres south of Arroyo Las Positas, two stormwater basins north of the arroyo, and a berm along the city-owned course, northwest of the airport runway.

To ease the project’s effect on the golf course, three holes of the 18-hole championship course will be reconfigured and the entire nine-hole course rebuilt. A potable water system will be put in on the course, which currently is watered with recycled water that is hard on the greens.

“We will basically have a new course,” said Sheets. “In fact, we worked really hard with the golf course manager and his constituents to end up with an end result that is better than what we have today.”

In 2007, the city adopted the El Charro Specific Plan, which designated 250 acres next to the airport for open space and business and commercial development. Two years later, the general plan was updated and the development code amended to allow for airport development.

Officials determined that about $70 million in roadway and flood control improvements were necessary to support the growth.

Built in 1965, the airport sits at the confluence of two regional water sheds — the Arroyo Las Positas to the north and east, and the Arroyo Mocho to the south and east.

The location makes it and surrounding areas prime for flooding during storms, resulting in ponds that attract wildlife, including the California red-legged frog.

Improving flood control will result in less of the ponding that draws birds — that can be hazardous for planes — and other animals to the airport, officials say.

Also, city leaders want to remove two ponds from the course where critters congregate, boost border collie patrol to keep geese away and end dry-farming practices on airport lands that create foraging opportunities.

To counteract wildlife effects, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is requiring the city to acquire 150 acres of upland red-legged frog habitat and restore streams. While state environmental documents for the plans have been certified, because the project involves lands purchased with federal grant funds, a separate, federal environmental review process is required under the National Environmental Policy Act.