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Could there be a Coyote Valley Conservation Program?

Photo Credit: Ronald Horii

Coyote Valley’s fate was uncertain and precarious just a few years ago, but the movement to protect it has rapidly gained influence and attention over the past year. Thousands of San Jose residents have signed a petition calling for protecting Coyote Valley. It’s a topic of serious discussion among the city council. The issue gained more than regional prominence this week when California State Assemblymember Ash Kalra introduced a bill aimed at permanent protection of Coyote Valley.

“What Coyote Valley offers is irreplaceable: vibrant wetlands, an essential wildlife habitat and migratory area, active farmlands, a resource to fight climate change and open space for all to enjoy,” Kalra told the San Jose Spotlight. His proposed Assembly Bill 948 would create a Coyote Valley Conservation Program under the direction of the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. The Authority, which currently manages and protects parts of Coyote Valley, would be notified of any proposed project in the area and would be entitled to provide its analysis of the environmental values and potential impacts of a project. The bill also names Coyote Valley as a site of “statewide significance” which would have to be acknowledged in local planning documents as of January 1, 2020.

This isn’t the first time legislation intended to preserve Coyote Valley has been proposed. In November, San Jose voters approved Measure T, a public safety bill that could fund up to $50 million in protection for Coyote Valley in order to decrease flooding risks. While the city council debates how best to move forward with that funding, the California state government could take up the issue of Coyote Valley with Assemblymember Kalra’s bill.

We’re pleased to see Coyote Valley’s regional significance being recognized and the growing awareness of the need to protect its opportunities for recreation, its water sources, and its critical wildlife corridors. Currently, AB 948 is referred to a committee within the state assembly. We’ll be supportive of this effort, and hope that Coyote Valley can be afforded the protection it deserves.

About Protect Coyote Valley

The Protect Coyote Valley campaign is led by Committee for Green Foothills and supported by Greenbelt Alliance, Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, SAGE — Sustainable Agriculture Education, and the Land Trust of Santa Clara Valley. It aims to preserve Coyote Valley, San Jose as open space that offers flood-buffering wetlands, an essential wildlife habitat and migratory area, and active farmlands.

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