Jun 15, 2017

San Jose's Coyote Valley has come into focus as a key space to preserve as open space, even while faced with ever mounting pressures from land developers and local industry. SFEI's Robin Grossinger has helped to frame the area in useful ways for its various benefits to wildlife, water quality, and human use. He serves on a panel of scientists who have carefully catalogued the services Coyote Valley provides. In a Mercury news article, Grossinger surveys the scene and observes,

“There are definitely modifications, but a lot of this landscape hasn’t changed,” said Robin Grossinger, a historical ecologist with the nonprofit San Francisco Estuary Institute, as he looked last week at an 1847 map of Coyote Valley.

“In the South Bay, we’ve done a great job preserving the hills,” he said. “And we’re bringing back the bay’s salt marshes. This is the last piece.”

 The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority and the Peninsula Open Space Trust will be unveiling an ambitious plan to preserve these lands, ensuring that they can continue to serve wildlife needs even while the local human population continues to grow. The plan draws on SFEI's historical ecology research and landscape resilience studies.

The plan focuses on Coyote Valley as a key connection between the two vast mountain ranges. It proposes spending $80 million over the next decade to preserve at least 1,000 acres, mostly in North Coyote Valley, where much of the land is zoned for tech campuses.

It’s a switch in strategy for environmentalists, who will now try to play offense with big money in Coyote Valley rather than reacting to development proposals.

The plan aims to allow wildlife to hunt and breed between the Diablo Range and the Santa Cruz Mountains without being hit by cars or blocked by development. It also includes building tunnels for animals — from bobcats to badgers — under highway lanes; restoring streams and wetlands to protect endangered species; recharging groundwater; and purchasing open space and development rights in Coyote Valley.

Paul Rogers
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Historical Ecology
Terrestrial Ecology
Center for Resilient Landscapes