Jennifer Koepcke - POST
By Jennifer Koepcke,
Director of Institutional Engagement

It’s hurricane season and, as I write this, my thoughts are with the families of the Carolinas as they recover from the wake of Hurricane Florence. It’s hard to watch and, unfortunately, something that we will likely see more of in the coming decades.

Given that Californians are usually talking about drought, it may be easy to forget that we’re not immune to this type of natural disaster here in the Bay Area. It was just last year that downtown San Jose flooded forcing 14,000 people from their homes and causing over $100 million in damage.

 

The city has taken important steps to protect the neighborhoods of Rock Springs and Williams Street from future flooding. But San Jose citizens also have an opportunity to help prevent this type of event from happening again  and it’s through the November 6 ballot. As election day gets closer, here’s what you need to know regarding water, flooding and the future of the city:

    • One of the most cost-effective flood control measures available to San Jose involves protecting its natural wetlands upstream. Coyote Valley, just south of San Jose, is home to the remnants of a 1,000+ acre wetland called the Laguna Seca. Some of the water upstream of San Jose flows off the nearby mountains and pools within the Laguna Seca. There it percolates into the ground, helping to alleviate downstream flooding and provide clean drinking water to San Jose.
    • The wetlands of Coyote Valley are under threat of development. Paved over, these wetlands will no longer provide the multiple benefits that healthy wetlands can – for people and wildlife. The city is at a crossroads with a clear choice in front of it. The development of these natural wetlands would exacerbate downstream flooding in San Jose and force people to rely on further costly, and sometimes faulty, infrastructure like levees and storm drain systems.

On November 6, San Jose residents have an opportunity to vote to protect precious wetlands and secure cost-effective, natural flood control infrastructure. 

    • Prop 3 – California Water Infrastructure and Watershed Conservation Bond: This is an $8.877 billion statewide GO bond for water infrastructure, groundwater storage and habitat restoration. A large portion of revenue from this bond would go toward the protection and restoration of key watershed areas in the state, like the historic wetlands of Coyote Valley and San Francisco Bay.

This is our chance to help protect San Jose from future flooding and protect a source of our clean drinking water. And, as a bonus, we can protect Coyote Valley from development; it is one of the last remaining valley floors in the Bay Area and a critical linkage for wildlife.

I’m hopeful for the future, but don’t forget to vote on November 6!

 

 

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About Post

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 76,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties.

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