Searsville Dam was built in 1892 and is located on San Francisquito Creek. The watershed supports a run of steelhead in several upstream tributaries and may have historically supported coho salmon as well. The dam does not provide potable water or hydropower. Its primary use is to provide irrigation water to the Stanford University campus and some flood control benefits to the downstream cities of Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and East Palo Alto.


Stanford University


Corte Madera Creek, San Francisquito Creek watershed in Portola Valley, CA

Completion Date:



Height: 65 ft., Length: 275 ft. Total designed capacity: 1,840 acre ft., forming Searsville Reservoir, 90% filled with sediment


Beyond Searsville Dam Coalition, Friends of the River, American Rivers, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, CalTrout, National Marine Fisheries Service, Stanford University, San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority, Grassroots Ecology, local landowners, downstream neighbors, and others.

Land Acknowledgment

Searsville Dam and the surrounding Stanford University grounds are on the ancestral land of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe. Stanford and the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe acknowledge their history and ongoing relationship.

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