Peninsula Open Space Trust Completes Purchase and Permanent Protection of 71 Acres in Mid Coyote Valley

$3.75 million acquisition provides key connection among protected lands along Fisher Creek corridor

PALO ALTO, Calif. — January 12, 2022 — Today, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) announced the purchase and permanent protection of approximately 71 acres within a key corridor that connects the North Coyote Valley Conservation Area to the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve.

This transaction increases the number of protected acres in this “last chance” valley floor to more than 1,500. Located at the end of Richmond Avenue in Mid Coyote Valley, the property connects to several POST-protected properties that stretch along Santa Teresa Boulevard and Fisher Creek. Protecting it creates a 1.5-mile corridor of contiguous protected creek-side lands within the 100-year floodplain that extends south of Bailey Avenue.

Map of the Houret Property.
Click to zoom in.

“The natural environment is our first line of defense against climate change. This land — especially along a creek corridor — serves us all best if we allow it to act as the wildlife passage and groundwater repository that it wants to be,” said Walter T. Moore, president of POST. “With this opportunity to further invest in the natural resources and infrastructure of Coyote Valley, we advance our long-term goal of building resilience back into the landscape in order to help protect the downstream communities of San José.”

About the property

POST purchased the property for $3.75 million from the Houret/Bridgeman family. Permanently protecting the property for conservation expands the opportunity to restore Fisher Creek on both sides. Additionally, Fisher Creek, which makes up the property’s eastern boundary, can now be reconnected to its historic floodplain and to restore vital wet meadow habitat for wildlife and climate resilience. Protecting the property also secures continued agricultural use of the land by the current tenant, who will continue to produce hay and forage crops.

This 71-acre property sits within an area identified in the 2017 Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage Report as a necessary wildlife linkage. This new acreage, and other recent mid-valley acquisitions, are continuing to build out the vision outlined in that report. Coyote Valley, known as a “last chance landscape,” allows species to pass between the Santa Cruz and Diablo Mountain Ranges, protecting the entire region’s biodiversity and ecological health in an era of climate change and land fragmentation. Protection of this landscape is key to maintaining long-term ecological connectivity between more than 1.1 million acres of core habitat and protected areas in the Santa Cruz and Diablo Mountain Ranges surrounding the Santa Clara Valley.

All of Coyote Valley constitutes part of the ancestral lands of numerous Indigenous peoples who stewarded the land for millennia. Their descendants, members of the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe, the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and Tamien Nation still reside in the region.

 

Another key piece of the puzzle is secured within Coyote Valley’s critical valley bottom. Video: Teddy Miller

Future plans

This property is strategically important acreage for the overall vision of Coyote Valley conservation shared by POST and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (the Authority). Recently, in parallel efforts to conserve much of the valley for its many environmental benefits, the Santa Clara County Supervisors and San José City Council voted in late 2021 to amend land use designations and zoning in the area to limit development and support continued agricultural and open space use for farming, wildlife and natural infrastructure. These regulatory changes constitute a major milestone that set the intention for the valley as a whole.

With substantial acreage now protected, POST is working with its partner, the Authority, to develop a management plan for this property and the adjacent protected parcels. Once the management plan is completed, the parcel can be integrated into the Authority’s long-term planning process for the future of the lands in and around Coyote Valley. Hay and forage crop production will continue in the meantime.

“We congratulate POST on securing this critical piece of the Coyote Valley conservation puzzle. This helps further our shared vision for assembling a seamless network of protected open space along the Fisher Creek floodplain that benefits both human and natural communities,” said Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager of the Authority. “Almost 60% of the Fisher Creek floodplain is now protected. This property has numerous opportunities for habitat and floodplain restoration and the potential for expanding our Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. We look forward to working closely with POST to achieve this goal.”

POST is continuing to raise funds in support of the ongoing conservation work in Coyote Valley. Details are available at openspacetrust.org/coyote-valley-program.

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About the Peninsula Open Space Trust

POST protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. As a private nonprofit land trust, POST has been responsible for saving more than 80,000 acres since 1977. POST works with private landowners and public agencies to connect people and nature. Visit openspacetrust.org for more information.

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 83,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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