Following on the heels of the historic 937 acre conservation acquisition in North Coyote Valley is the purchase of a 36 acre property on Tulare Hill. The Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency purchased the “Tulare Hill Wedge” from Hitech Enterprise at the end of November.
Although a small site, the purchase closes an important conservation gap on Tulare Hill between the Santa Clara County Parks Tulare Hill Land Bank and the nearby Silicon Valley Land Conservancy lands. The acquisition will protect and enhance extensive serpentine grassland habitat. This habitat is essential to the Bay Checkerspot Butterfly and six other threatened or endangered serpentine-dependent species covered under the Agency’s Habitat Conservation Plan: California red-legged frog (dispersal habitat); Western burrowing owl (over-wintering habitat); California tiger salamander; Santa Clara Valley dudleya; Most beautiful jewelflower; and Smooth lessingia.
There is opportunity to manage the serpentine habitat in conjunction with the adjacent County Parks site. This would include the continuation of grazing to control invasive species and reduce grassland fuel loads in this sensitive wildland-urban interface.
Tulare Hill is situated at the northernmost end of Coyote Valley next to the newly acquired Sobrato and Bradenburg properties recently purchased by the City of San Jose, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, and the Peninsula Open Space District. The acquisition of the Tulare Hill Wedge will help link existing protected areas to maximize habitat connectivity and contribute to the protection of watersheds, subwatersheds, and headwater streams that are not already in protected status. The property may also serve at some time in the future as the western terminus for any wildlife bridge over Monterey Road and/or Highway 101.
This purchase caps off a historic year of acquisition in Coyote Valley and is another hopeful sign that the future of this unique landscape is one of conservation and not urban development.