A large contingent of conservationists kicked off a campaign Nov. 2 to permanently preserve Coyote Valley—which serves as a buffer of open space between Morgan Hill and San Jose—from the threat of future development.
Backed by an environmental conservation grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a coalition led by the Committee for Green Foothills and Greenbelt Alliance have set out to defend Coyote Valley’s natural resources, including flood control, wildlife habitat and rich farmland.
“We are on a mission to save Coyote Valley from sprawling development,” said Megan Medeiros, executive director of CGF. “We know San Jose and Silicon Valley residents are with us. We’re very grateful to the Moore Foundation for their support in helping us to mobilize action
to preserve this remarkable place.”
Located within the southern reaches of San Jose down to the northernmost parts of Morgan Hill, Coyote Valley has been targeted for the expansion of the City of San Jose since the 1970’s. In particular, technology company campuses, warehouses and distribution centers have eyed the valley for growth, according to organizers.
“Most of these efforts have been thwarted, but the valley is still under threat,” according to CGF. “The Moore Foundation grants are far-reaching in helping to achieve a strong conservation outcome.”
The Moore Foundation’s Environmental Conservation Program “balances long-term conservation with sustainable use” in an effort to “protect critical ecosystems.” The program has distributed nearly $1.4 billion across 1,125 grants.
The Committee for Green Foothills and Greenbelt Alliance has partnered with Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society, SAGE and Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful in their new campaign, which kicked off Nov. 2 with a new website and funding. The purpose is “to permanently protect Coyote through a three-fold strategy of advocacy, research and community mobilization.”
According to the new website, protectcoyotevalley.org, Coyote Valley is considered an inclusive wildlife corridor for the region, a secure source of drinking water and natural flood protection and a proud heritage of local agriculture. It is home to more than 215 species of birds, 1,000 acres of wetlands and 4,000 acres of farmland in production.
“I am encouraged to see this kind of proactive engagement that conserves our important open spaces,” said Sergio Jimenez, city council member for San Jose’s District 2, which encompasses Coyote Valley. “There is a new vision for Coyote Valley that bolsters resilience to climate change and protects San Jose residents from flooding while caring for the Valley’s natural resources rather than old ideas such as sprawling development.”
Timeline of events to preserve Coyote Valley
June 2015: Santa Clara Open Space Authority (OSA) opened the 348-acre Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, located on Palm Avenue just north of Morgan Hill. Later that same year, OSA acquired the 1,831-acre Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve.
2016: Committee for Green Foothills, Greenbelt Alliance, Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter and the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society launched a campaign to prevent a proposed 30-acre warehouse development in Northern Coyote Valley from moving forward, ultimately supporting the property owner’s decision to sell their land for conservation purposes. This property was subsequently purchased by Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) in June 2017.
May 2017: Santa Clara Open Space Authority purchased 52 acres near the Santa Teresa foothills.
October 2017: POST purchased another 63-acre property at the intersection of Santa Teresa Boulevard and Richmond Avenue in the mid-Coyote Valley, near the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority’s Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve.
This article originally appeared in the Morgan Hill Times.