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For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples stewarded Coyote Valley’s rich tapestry of freshwater wetlands, grassland, oak savannas, and riparian woodlands. After the European conquest, the Indigenous residents were dispossessed and Indigenous society was replaced with farms, roadways, and scattered residential and commercial development.

Descendants of the original Indigenous inhabitants of the region still reside in the South Bay, and their historic ethic of stewardship continues into the present day. Learn more at and

As the City of San Jose grew to the north and the City of Morgan Hill grew to the south, Coyote Valley remained rural. That began to change in the second half of the 20th century. This timeline describes some of the milestones in the struggle to keep Coyote Valley green.

1960s: The City of San Jose turns its gaze toward Coyote Valley as a potential area for urban expansion as the unrelenting hodge-podge expansion of the city continues.

1970s: In 1976, IBM completes the 620,000 square foot IBM Labs facility at 555 Bailey Road, in the face of opposition from Green Foothills. Although environmentalists lost this battle, the IBM campus remains the only large tech development in Coyote Valley. In what will become a trend, Hewlett Packard chooses Alviso as the site for its new headquarters as opposed to Coyote Valley.

1980s: San Jose adopts a General Plan that envisions tech campuses and residential development in much of Coyote Valley. Large industrial projects are proposed but never actualize, including Tandem Computer and Apple Computer’s massive office park plans, and a huge new plant by ROLM Corporation.

1990s: The Coyote Valley Research Park, a vast tech-industrial area centered around a Cisco campus, is proposed for nearly the entirety of North Coyote Valley in 1999. The project is approved by the City Council despite strong opposition from residents and environmental groups, but due to the dot-com bust, is never built.

2000s: In 2002, the Coyote Valley Specific Plan proposes 25,000 homes in Coyote Valley, but those plans are scrapped by the Coyote Housing Group in 2008, citing challenges with environmental review and entitlement hurdles. Subsequently, a growing body of scientific research identifies Coyote Valley as a critical wildlife linkage between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range. In 2010, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority acquires 348 acres in mid-Coyote Valley.

2007: DeAnza College’s Environmental Studies Program begins a Coyote Valley Wildlife Corridor Program to conduct biological surveys in Coyote Valley.

2011: Sustainable Agricultural Education Center (SAGE) initiates Conserving Coyote Valley Agriculture Feasibility Study.

2014: Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority nominates Coyote Valley as a Priority Conservation Area.

2016: Protect Coyote Valley coalition is formed under the leadership of Green Foothills for the purpose of fighting new development proposals in Coyote Valley. The Panattoni Development Company proposes a warehouse on 30 acres in North Coyote Valley, but ultimately agrees to sell the land to Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) instead, becoming the first POST-protected property in Coyote Valley.

2017: The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority publishes the Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage Report, summarizing the scientific importance of the valley to wildlife movement across the region, as well as water storage and quality. In addition, the 30-acre Fisher Flats and 63-acre Fisher’s Bend properties are protected by the Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) in partnership with the Open Space Authority.

2017: Coyote Creek floods, resulting in some of the worst flooding downtown San Jose had seen in nearly 100 years. The flood increases awareness that protecting and restoring natural areas in floodplains upstream of San Jose, such as Coyote Valley, is a key to minimizing future flooding in San Jose’s urban areas.

2018: In June, San Jose voters reject Measure B, which would have allowed developers to bypass development zoning regulations. In November, San Jose voters approve Measure T, providing up to $50 million for land protection in Coyote Valley.

2019: The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority releases a study, Coyote Valley: A Case for Conservation, in which it estimates that “restored floodplains in Coyote Valley could prevent ~450 acre-ft of water from flowing through Coyote Creek during a single storm event – enough to fill SAP Arena.”

2019: In November, the San Jose City Council unanimously approves the purchase and permanent protection of 937 acres in the North Coyote Valley through an innovative public and private partnership with POST and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority.

2021: In November, the San Jose City Council votes to change the land use designation of North Coyote Valley to open space and agriculture, and to remove the Urban Reserve designation from Mid Coyote Valley, thus relinquishing all intent of annexation and development. In December, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approves 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 protected from urban-scale development.

2021: The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority begins a Master Planning Process for restoring and supporting a vibrant ecosystem in Coyote Valley.

Although we’ve made great progress in protecting Coyote Valley, threats still exist. Developers are still attempting to chip away at our 2021 victory. We need to continue working to protect this region’s fragile wildlife linkages, restore the historic floodplains, and support regenerative agricultural practices that increase our region’s climate resilience. See our blog for the latest updates.