by Alice Kaufman, Legislative Advocacy Director of Committee for Green Foothills
This November, San Jose voters will have the chance to help save Coyote Valley while also voting for disaster preparedness, public safety, and infrastructure. Measure T, a bond measure on the November 2018 ballot, will provide up to $50 million in funding for land conservation in Coyote Valley to prevent flooding and water quality contamination.
Measure T primarily addresses repair and repaving of streets and improving police, fire and paramedic facilities. However, as part of San Jose’s plan to prevent future flooding like the 2017 Coyote Creek floods that devastated some of the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, Measure T also provides funds for “green infrastructure” – conserving and enhancing open space in the Coyote Valley floodplain to reduce the risk of future floods and protect groundwater from contamination.
We have long known that “green infrastructure” is one of the most cost-effective ways to address problems such as flooding, air and water pollution, fire prevention, climate change, and sea level rise. Rather than building concrete levees and floodwalls, if we allow natural floodplains to absorb stormwater, we not only recharge our groundwater and prevent erosion, we create new habitat for wildlife and remove carbon and pollutants from the air – all at a lower cost than building concrete ditches and levees.
If Measure T passes, we will be able to permanently protect valuable land in Coyote Valley’s floodplain so it remains open space for wildlife and people.
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.