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Coyote Valley threatened for decades with urban development

Nestled between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range at the southern end of San Jose, Coyote Valley spans over 7,400 acres. The fields, farmlands, creeks and wetlands of Coyote Valley provide a vital linkage for wildlife migration, flood protection for San Jose, locally grown food, and trails for hiking and biking.

For several decades, the City of San Jose designated North Coyote Valley for industrial development and Mid Coyote Valley for eventual annexation and residential development. The loss of Coyote Valley’s open space to development seemed inevitable.

But the Protect Coyote Valley coalition, led by Green Foothills, fought back against each new development proposal. Some proposals were defeated by our advocacy, others by changing economic considerations – but overall, Coyote Valley remained primarily a place of open fields and farmlands.

In 2021, after several years of advocacy by the Protect Coyote Valley coalition, the San Jose City Council voted to:

  • change the land use designation of North Coyote Valley to open space and agriculture, and
  • remove the Urban Reserve designation from Mid Coyote Valley, thus relinquishing all intent of annexation and development.

A month later, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved a Climate Resilience District for both Mid and South Coyote Valley, imposing restrictions on the size and type of development allowable there and supporting climate-resilient agriculture. As a result of the City and County actions, Coyote Valley is now safe from urban-scale development.

What’s now at stake: Keeping Coyote Valley green

Despite great progress, Coyote Valley is not completely protected from all development threats. We still need to ensure its wildlife habitat and linkages, floodplains and groundwater, and farmland are protected from landowners and developers seeking exceptions to the land use protections that were achieved with so much effort.

We will also continue to advocate for policies that protect, enhance and restore Coyote Valley’s unique ecosystem. We have an unparalleled opportunity to create a truly unique region – one that features sustainable and regenerative agriculture incorporating traditional Indigenous practices, that restores historical wetlands and floodplains to their former beauty, and that provides a fully functional landscape linkage for animals to safely cross between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range, including habitat for foraging, breeding, and nesting.

Please join us in the fight to protect Coyote Valley! Sign the petition to protect Coyote Valley for future generations.

Organizational leadership and support

Protect Coyote Valley is led by Green Foothills and supported by Greenbelt Alliance, Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, the Land Trust of Santa Clara ValleyMothers Out Front, Green Party of Santa Clara County, San Jose Parks Foundation, Silicon Valley Youth Climate Strike, and the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe.

Collectively these organizations represent their 100,000 members and supporters in Santa Clara County.


Protecting the beauty of Coyote Valley

I hope this magnificent area will be protected for all beings for generations to come.”

Joan Baez, Legendary American folk singer, songwriter, and activist

Two of my priorities are to improve the quality of life and the environment of San Jose. Protecting Coyote Valley offers the City of San Jose a natural way to reduce future flooding risk with beautiful open space that city residents can enjoy.”

Sergio Jimenez, San Jose City Council, District 2

We need to move beyond the outdated and unsustainable model of suburban sprawl, to protect our green spaces and hillsides, and embrace the emerging opportunity of building a vibrant Downtown worthy of Silicon Valley’s urban center.”

Valentin Lopez, ChairmanAmah Mutsun Tribal Band

Where else do you find open space, recreation, farmland, and wildlife habitat right next to a large metropolitan area? The fact that Coyote Valley is still here is a miracle. Protecting it is our number one priority.”

Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority