Peninsula Open Space Trust Purchases 206-Acre Property in Mid-Coyote Valley, Increasing Protected Lands in Area to More Than 3,300 acres

Once designated for dense development, this historical floodplain and critical wildlife linkage area will benefit region as “natural infrastructure.”

SAN JOSE, Calif. (March 17, 2021)Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) today announced the purchase of 206 acres in mid-Coyote Valley from Shapell Properties, Inc., increasing permanently protected land in and around Coyote Valley to more than 3,300 acres. This regional total includes an adjacent 60-acre property that POST purchased and protected in late 2020, and another 65-acre property, just to the north, that POST preserved earlier this month. (See map below.)

By connecting the protected lands of the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve with Fisher Creek in the middle portion of the valley, this latest acquisition constitutes another important step toward creating a critical habitat linkage for wildlife between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range. Additionally, the purchase expands upon plans to preserve and restore the Coyote Valley Conservation Area as a whole, following the groundbreaking deals at the northern end of Coyote Valley that took place in November 2019 through a partnership among POST, the City of San Jose and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (the Authority).

 

The 206 acres of newly protected land (pictured here) are now permanently safeguarded as open space — a vital resource for South Bay communities and local wildlife.

Once designated for dense development, this property and its surrounding lands can one day be restored to their natural state to act once again as floodplain during heavy rain events. This will allow for more groundwater to be stored on-site and aid in curbing downstream flooding in an era of climate change. The combined recent mid-valley acquisitions provide an opportunity to restore almost a mile of the Fisher Creek corridor, where the creekside, wetland and grassland habitats can act as “stepping stones” for both resident and migratory wildlife.

“The natural environment is our first line of defense against climate change. This land will serve 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. “We applaud Shapell’s willingness to sell this property for conservation purposes, which gives us the opportunity to invest in the natural resources that will benefit all who live in and around Coyote Valley.”

“As we’ve learned more about the unique natural capabilities of the land in Coyote Valley, we are pleased to have worked with POST to execute a sale that supports a climate-resilient future for the region and protects residential and commercial development downstream,” said Bill West, spokesperson for Shapell Properties, Inc.

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 and the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, still reside in the region. Shapell purchased the 206-acre property in the late 1990s and retained ownership of the property following the sale of the majority of their business to Toll Brothers in 2014. Approximately 57 acres of the property is currently leased to Fisher Creek Land & Cattle, LLC, which manages a walnut orchard.

Future Plans

POST is working with the Authority to define a plan for the protection and management of this property and POST’s other mid-valley acquisitions. Once that is completed, the parcels can be integrated into the Authority’s long-term planning process for the future of the lands in and around Coyote Valley.

Coyote Valley POST
Click to zoom in.

“We congratulate POST on securing a critical piece of the Coyote Valley conservation puzzle and furthering 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. “This property has numerous opportunities for habitat and floodplain restoration and the potential to become part of our Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. We look forward to working closely with POST to achieve this goal.”

The land POST has purchased in the mid-valley sits within an area identified in the 2017 Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage Report as a necessary wildlife linkage. This new acreage is 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 that surround the Santa Clara Valley.

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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 its founding in 1977. POST works with private landowners and public agencies to create a network of protected lands so that present and future generations may benefit from the careful balance of rural and urban landscapes that makes our region extraordinary. 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 80,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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