PROGRESS IN PRESERVING COYOTE VALLEY
And What You Can Do
The efforts of the Loma Prieta Chapter and its partners, including Committee for Green Foothills, Greenbelt Alliance, Audubon, and others to oppose development in Coyote Valley are paying dividends. Two key parcels, one of which was proposed as a busy warehouse center, have been purchased by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and will be preserved as open space. The fact that the leading environmental groups in the area are now working together has leveraged their impact and done much to raise public awareness. But we can expect additional development proposals, so much more remains to be done to achieve a complete and final victory.
At risk are rare valley floor wildlife habitat and corridors, one of the largest remaining wetlands in the county (Laguna Seca), flood plains to protect against Coyote Creek flooding, some of the best agricultural land in the county, and sensitive ground water resources. The extension of urban sprawl into the valley would cripple San Jose’s goal of substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and destroy a last vestige of the beautiful “Valley of Heart’s Delight,” which should be preserved for the citizens of the Bay Area for its ecological, recreational, and cultural significance.
Two recent reports have documented the value of Coyote Valley. The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority issued a Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage report showing the valley’s importance as a connection between the Diablo Range and the Santa Cruz Mountains, allowing wildlife to migrate, find mates, maintain genetic diversity, and adapt to climate change. POST has announced a major effort to preserve the valley and estimates that $80 million will be required to buy land and development rights.
Committee for Green Foothills has developed a web page (.protectcoyotevalley.org) that will keep us up to date on news, development proposals, and hikes and other events in the valley. It has a “Take Action” tab which allows people to sign a pledge favoring preservation of the valley. The efforts of POST and others may be limited by land use decisions of the San Jose City Council which may ultimately determine the valley’s fate. The council members are very aware of public sentiment, so if we can muster thousands of supporters, it will be factored into their decision.
As the largest environmental organization in the area, our Chapter members can have a big impact in influencing the council, so if you favor saving this special place, go to the web page and sign on as a Coyote Valley supporter. This includes residents of San Mateo and San Benito counties as preservation of the valley is definitely a regional issue.