In the fall of 2019, we protected 937 acres in North Coyote Valley in partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (the Authority) and the City of San Jose. And I’m excited to report that work to restore this vital landscape — the last intact valley floor connecting two of the Bay Area’s largest mountain ranges — has begun. Here we go!
For a quick refresher, North Coyote Valley is the largest, most functional pathway for wildlife moving between the Diablo and Santa Cruz Mountain ranges. It connects over 1.13 million acres of open space and core wildlife habitat. That’s why restoring this vital linkage is so key to bolstering the natural resilience of the entire Bay Area, especially as our climate continues to change.
The narrow, hard-angled corridor of Fisher’s Creek (just left of center frame) provides essential habitat for wildlife moving across the valley’s floor. Downtown San Jose (center frame in the distance) lies just a few miles north. Aerial support provided by Light Hawk.
Winding through the heart of Coyote Valley is Fisher Creek, a modest watercourse that was channelized in the early 1900s and converges with Coyote Creek before making its way to the south end of the San Francisco Bay. At first glance, the creek doesn’t look like much. But field research done in collaboration with our partner organizations has revealed that the creek corridor is an essential lifeline for wildlife moving along the valley floor.
Last summer, the Authority initiated the restoration of a section of this creek within POST-protected Fisher’s Bend, a property in mid-Coyote Valley that we acquired in 2017. This project marks the beginning of our collective effort to restore the valley floor’s ecological health by healing its waterways.
Have a look:
Under the Authority’s leadership, the San Jose Conservation Corps removed invasive plants and tons of trash from the creek bed and banks. Over 90 used tires were removed and recycled, clearing the way to plant native vegetation along the creek bank in order to improve the creek’s function, health and habitat.
Habitat is key because many animals moving along Fisher Creek need cover to travel safely and successfully across the landscape. Restoring native shrubs to the creek’s banks creates more sheltered space for a diversity of wildlife to move and live in. This vegetation also provides food for a wide range of native insects and birds, some of which are threatened or endangered.
Restoring this section of the creek is a small but important step toward making Coyote Valley, and its residents, more resilient in the face of an uncertain future.
This is but one of many steps managed by our partners at the Authority. The Authority has since kicked off a public planning process (see below) to further inform the ongoing efforts to conserve the valley, including wetland restoration, wildlife crossing infrastructure, ecologically sensitive public access and more. And POST is behind them every step of the way. Your continued involvement and support are important as we embark on this new phase of our work.
Our partners at the Authority have begun soliciting community feedback on their plans for the future of Coyote Valley. They want to hear your stories and ideas for the future of the valley! Find more here.
Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 80,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more