New Open Space Explorers Summer Day Program

Know any kids that are looking for opportunities to get outside? This summer, we’re excited to introduce Open Space Explorers, a new summer day program offering school-age kids and their families the chance to get outside and learn about nature.

Read More July 04, 2018

A Birdwatcher’s Guide to Coyote Valley

One of the best spots for birdwatching in Santa Clara County is the Coyote Valley. The open spaces in and around Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve include important habitat for wildlife including more than 220 species of resident and migratory birds.

Read More July 04, 2018

Measure Q Grant Programs Award Nearly $1 million to 21 Projects

San Jose, CA - June 19, 2018: The Authority’s Board of Directors has awarded $938,511 of funding for 21 grants in the 2017-2018 grant cycle for both the Measure Q Urban Open Space and Environmental Education Grant Programs. The projects and programs span the Authority’s jurisdiction and focus on environmental restoration, parks and trails, urban agriculture, and environmental education programs that teach about nature’s health benefits, natural resources, water, and agriculture. The $938,511 in grant awards leverages more than $2 million in matching funds from the grantee organizations for a total urban open space investment of just under $3 million.

Read More June 19, 2018

Making a Difference in Our Urban Communities - Measure Q Grant Programs

When Measure Q was passed by voters in 2014, the Open Space Authority made a bigger commitment to invest in nature within our communities, and so the Measure Q Urban Open Space and Environmental Education Grant Programs were created. In its first year, the Urban Open Space Grant Program awarded over $1.5 million in funding to 15 different organizations and the Authority was excited to see so many inspiring projects bringing nature to our neighborhoods. Now, a year later, those organizations are making a difference in our urban communities. Below are just two examples that underscore the benefits our grantees bring to our urban communities.

Read More June 06, 2018

Summer Family Fun in Nature

Finger painting scenes of nature – Plein Air Finger painting workshop on May 5, 2018 at Alviso Adobe Park, Milpitas.

As part of our mission, we encourage people to connect with nature, and better yet – to bring their families.

The Authority leads many community events in our local parks and open space preserves each month, many of which are kid-friendly and open to all ages. From nature walks, wildlife and stargazing demonstrations, arts and crafts, picnics, and more, providing opportunities for kids to get outside and explore nature are at the heart of the Authority’s summer programming.

Read More June 06, 2018

The Authority heads Out on the Openroad June 24th

Tune in to channel 4 on June 24th for this special event as we continue to celebrate our 25th Anniversary Year on NBC Bay Area’s OpenRoad with Doug McConnell! This weekly television show features the natural, historical, and cultural treasures of Northern California with a focus on protected lands.
Read More June 06, 2018

Public-Private Partnership Secures Key Open Space Lands for Wildlife and Public Access

Two purchases preserve and protect important South Bay watershed lands, connect multiple parks and preserves

Read More June 04, 2018

The Power of Partnerships

Dear Friends,

At the Open Space Authority, our love and understanding of the Santa Clara Valley – with its sweeping views, oak woodlands, grasslands, rare species, bubbling creeks, and working farms – is what inspires us to ensure that future generations will have open space to love.

Read More May 17, 2018

Measure Q Urban Open Space Corner - May 2018

Each month we are sharing updates from our 2016-2017 Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant Program grantees. Learn more about the work they are doing in the community here.

Read More May 02, 2018

Seniors: Join us to Hike for Health!

The Authority is featuring a Seniors Hike for Health series, which encourages seniors to get outdoors and work on mobility to stay healthy. These gentle walks got off to a fantastic start in April, with great weather and attendance!

Read More May 02, 2018

Walking with Wildflowers - Photo Tour

Each Spring, the foothills of our open space preserves see a magnificent and colorful wildflower bloom. Accompanying these wildflowers, Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve also hosts the emergence of the rare and endangered Bay checkerspot butterfly. This beautiful orange, black, and white butterfly -- checker-patterned as its name suggests -- is a local celebrity, since its range is largely limited to Coyote Ridge. This unique display of butterflies and wildflowers also brings out our knowledgeable docents and staff to lead members of the public on special hikes for the chance to experience this precious unique environment. This season, now coming to a close, provided over 850 visitors the opportunity to connect with their open spaces and learn about native wildflowers.

If you missed Coyote Ridge, don’t worry, there are still wildflowers at our other open space preserves!

Read More May 02, 2018

Prop 68 - The California Parks, Environment, and Water Bond

Proposition 68 would authorize $4 billion in general obligation bonds for state and local parks, environmental protection and restoration projects, water infrastructure projects, and flood protection projects. The California Clean Water & Parks Act (SB5) will appear on the June statewide ballot.

Read More May 02, 2018

Measure Q Urban Open Space Corner - April 2018

Each month we are sharing updates from our 2016-2017 Measure Q Urban Open Space program grantees. Learn more about the work they are doing in the community here.

Read More April 04, 2018

Celebrating 25 Years of Conserving the Santa Clara Valley

A message from General Manager, Andrea Mackenzie.

In 1868, famed naturalist John Muir visited the Santa Clara Valley on his way to Yosemite Valley, the place that would become his spiritual home and inspire a life-long devotion to protect America’s wildest places for the benefit of future generations.

Read More April 04, 2018

Whipping in the Rain

A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to keep our trails and open spaces safe and accessible for the community, to prevent erosion of soils so they support native plant growth, and for the safe passage of wildlife. Much of this is done by the Authority’s Field Operations team, a small, dedicated group who do whatever it takes make sure that 22,000 acres of open space land are maintained, every day of the year.

Read More April 04, 2018

South County Agriculture Profile: North Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve Restoration Success

The North Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve is a pivotal conservation focus area that has undergone phenomenal changes as it gets a step closer to becoming active agricultural land once again. The 100.6-acre preserve lies within the Soap Lake Floodplain and is bordered by Llagas and Jones Creeks.

Read More March 10, 2018

Measure Q Urban Open Space Corner - March 2018

As we head into spring, the Open Space Authority continues to work diligently with the 2016-2017 Measure Q Urban Open Space grantees as they launch their projects. Take a look at some of the recent ones below.

Read More March 10, 2018

Where to View Wildflowers

Springtime brings green hills and spectacular displays of wildflowers to our open spaces. One of the most common questions we get this time of year is where visitors can go to see the best wildflowers in our preserves.

Read More March 09, 2018

Open Space Authority Preserves First Redwood Property, Gifted by McPhee Family

The Julian McPhee family donated a 112-acre property adjacent to Uvas Canyon County Park in the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. The Authority's Board of Directors previously voted to accept the gift, which will be the Authority's first acquisition that permanently protects part of a majestic redwood forest.

Read More February 26, 2018

Burrowing Owls Need Open Space

Protecting open spaces and grasslands is important to all of us, but for some local wildlife, it’s a matter of life or death.

Read More February 07, 2018

New Funding to Support Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve Habitat Restoration and Preservation Projects

New grazing improvements and habitat conservation protections are coming to Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve, thanks to a large federal grant awarded to the Open Space Authority.

Read More February 07, 2018

Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan Adopted

Many may not be aware that Santa Clara County still has 24,000 acres of farmland that generates 8,100 jobs and $830 million in economic output. However, in the past 30 years alone, the County lost 21,171 acres of farmland and rangeland to development and an additional 28,391 acres are currently at risk of being developed. If we lose more of our farmland, it would not only diminish our local food source, but also result in a loss of the iconic rural character of Santa Clara Valley, the loss of important jobs and farms central to our agricultural economy, and would generate significant greenhouse gas emissions.

Read More February 07, 2018

Thankful for Partnerships

The Open Space Authority is a small agency with a big mission and we need to work with like-minded organizations to accomplish our goals. In 2017 the Authority is proud to have increased our work with community partners to conserve land, restore landscapes, connect people to nature, and sustain our natural resources for future generations.

Read More January 04, 2018

The Critical Pathway for Wildlife

The Open Space Authority is excited to share updates in the quest to protect the Coyote Valley wildlife linkage between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range. The Authority and its partners at the Wilmers Lab at UC Santa Cruz, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and Pathways for Wildlife, started the Bobcat and Gray Fox Connectivity Study last spring and are wrapping up the final field season now with a total of 22 bobcats collared so far! Fitting the bobcats with advanced GPS-collars is generating fine-scale movement data and information that will be vital to informing planners on how these animals are moving in Coyote Valley.

Read More January 04, 2018

25th Anniversary Year Kicks Off

The Open Space Authority is kicking off its 25th Anniversary Year in 2018! The Authority began in 1993 as a grassroots effort by citizen activists wanting to protect Santa Clara Valley’s important natural resources. We started as a small agency with an important role to play and have since grown into a diverse organization with greater capacity to make progress on our mission of conserving the natural environment, supporting agriculture, and connecting people to nature. Measure Q has provided further opportunity to fulfill our mission by enabling us to expand public access to nature in and around our urban communities, increase our environmental education programming, and help us maintain our open space preserves for public enjoyment.

Read More January 04, 2018

Wet Weather & Winter Hiking Tips

Rain brings new growth, running streams, creeks and salamanders, but it also can make for muddy and slippery trails. 

Here are some wet weather and winter hiking tips to help you have a safe and enjoyable day in nature:

Read More January 04, 2018

Open Space Authority Approves Measure Q Environmental Education Grant Program

San Jose, CA - December 18, 2017: The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority's Board of Directors approved a new Measure Q Environmental Education Grant Program designed to advance environmental literacy and nature-oriented experiences for children, adults, and families free of charge. This competitive grant program is funded by Measure Q, a voter-approved Open Space funding measure and invites proposals for nature and science-based environmental education programs and youth engagement projects in one or more of these categories:

Read More December 18, 2017

Calaveras Fault Trail Status Update

Due to the closure of Alum Rock Falls Road after the severe February, 2017 storms, the Open Space Authority acted as a good neighbor to allow short-term vehicular access to residents of Alum Rock Falls Road across the Calaveras Fault Trail in the eastern portion of Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve. Without this access, the residents would have no other means to access their homes.

Read More December 15, 2017

Active Stream and Wetland Restoration at Diablo Foothills Open Space Preserve

If you’ve traveled east to Los Banos, then chances are you’ve driven the narrow Highway 152. In 2014, Caltrans completed a big task to widen the highway to include an additional 2 lanes in certain sections. In order to complete the project, Caltrans committed to mitigating for the loss of riparian habitat during construction and the Open Space Authority’s Diablo Foothills Open Space Preserve was the perfect location. 

Read More December 06, 2017

A Grazing Management Strategy is Key to Promoting Native Biodiversity

The Open Space Authority uses cattle grazing as a management tool to enhance the native biodiversity of California’s rare grasslands and oak savannas that support many native plants and animals, including endangered species. Grasslands have become rare due to development, and the remaining protected grasslands are under threat from invasive plant species. Invasive plants outcompete native plants for resources and suppressing natural wildfires have caused many shrubs and trees to establish themselves in grasslands. In the absence of fire or grazing, litter accumulates on the soil and can become fuel for extreme fires.

Read More December 06, 2017

Blazing Trails in More Ways Than One: Climate Change and Transparency at Forefront

The Little Hoover Commission, formed in 1962 to oversee California’s special districts, recently released a report that led to several recommendations meant to improve service to local communities. Climate change adaptation and transparency were two areas of focus where the Open Space Authority already exceeded the recommendations.

Read More December 06, 2017

Google’s San Jose village plan seeks success where Coyote Valley project fizzled

Authored by George Avalos and published in The Mercury News November 11, 2017. Photo by LiPo Ching.

SAN JOSE — Thirty-five years ago, San Jose agreed to move forward with an ambitious plan to build a massive technology campus, aiming to ease traffic jams by offering reverse commutes for employees living in burgeoning nearby communities.

The project promised to bring thousands of jobs. It would have built a transit link as well, with access to rail for the workers who opted out of commuting by car.

 It may sound eerily similar to Google’s proposed transit village, but San Jose’s past effort to build a huge tech campus in Coyote Valley — far from the downtown core — never got off the ground, despite many attempts to resurrect it from the ash heap of history.

Read More November 11, 2017

Open Space Authority Becomes First Public Agency to Receive Land Trust Accreditation

Last week, at a national meeting of conservationists in Denver, Colorado, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority was recognized for doing something no other public agency has before – becoming the first public agency in the nation to receive land trust accreditation.

Read More November 01, 2017

A Stepping Stone for Conservation in Coyote Valley

With the Open Space Authority’s recent Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage report, the valley has been top of mind for many conservation organizations. Bringing us a step closer to realizing the report's vision, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) has purchased the Ramke property near Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. Each open space acquisition serves as a stepping stone for conservation in implementing the Linkage vision. The property will be transferred to the Authority to become part of the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve.

Read More November 01, 2017

National At-Risk Landscapes: Coyote Valley makes the list

According to a new report, Coyote Valley is one of the nation’s most at-risk landscapes, due to the continuing threat of development. The 2017 Landslide Report: Open Season on Open Space was compiled by The Cultural Landscape Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to connecting people to places and encouraging stewardship of public lands and culturally significant spaces. Coyote Valley was one of thirteen different threatened places featured from coast to coast.

Read More November 01, 2017

Urban Open Space Nature Hub Opens - Bill's Backyard: Bridge to Nature

On October 29, a brand new way to experience nature opened in the heart of downtown San Jose.  The Children’s Discovery Museum launched Bill’s Backyard: Bridge to Nature, a half acre outdoor play space that gives kids the chance to explore the outdoors by climbing, building, digging and get their hands dirty in a safe and authentic way.

Read More November 01, 2017

Youth Stewards Volunteer at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve

On October 11, the Open Space Authority hosted students from San Jose's Harker Academy at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve. More than 200 high school freshman students and staff came out, making it the biggest volunteer Land Steward service day in Authority history. The Harker volunteers gathered to hear San Jose City Councilmember Chappie Jones speak about the importance of protecting the environment, and then worked on trail maintenance, removing non-native mustard plants along the Arrowhead Trail.

Read More November 01, 2017

Open Space Authority Kicks Off Second Annual Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant Program

Open Space Authority Kicks Off Second Annual Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant Program
Grant application deadline is January 12, 2018

San Jose, CA - November 1, 2017: The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority is kicking off its Second Annual Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant Program, designed to connect more people throughout its jurisdiction with the many benefits of nature. This competitive grant program is funded by Measure Q and provides funding for projects in one or more of these categories:

- Environmental Stewardship and Restoration
- Parks, Trails, and Public Access
- Environmental Education
- Urban Agriculture/Food Systems

Read More November 01, 2017

POST Purchases Key Property in mid-Coyote Valley

POST Purchases Key Property in mid-Coyote Valley
Advancing Regional Vision for Wildlife Corridor

(Palo Alto, Calif.)—Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) announced today the purchase of a 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 acquisition marks the second project that POST has completed in the Valley over the past 6 months.

POST purchased the property from the Ramke family for $2,852,100. The property had been owned by the family for over six decades where they grew tomatoes, beans, bell peppers, and most recently alfalfa, wheat and oats.

Read More October 24, 2017

Mayor Tran: Coyote Creek Matters

Authored by Milpitas Mayor Rich Tran. Published in the Milpitas Post October 13, 2017.

Milpitas is part of a much larger watershed that benefits Santa Clara Valley.

We live in an astonishingly beautiful region nestled against the rolling grasslands and oak forests of the Diablo Mountain Range. Milpitas residents clearly want to protect these beautiful landscapes.  We voted overwhelmingly (79%) last November to renew the city’s Hillside Ordinance that insures protection of our scenic hills while allowing common sense development.

Read More October 13, 2017

The Coyote Valley Linkage to the Latino Community

Co-authored by Sergio Jimenez, San Jose Councilmember and Ada Marquez, Environmental Scientist and Faculty Member, San Jose State University. Published in El Observador October 6, 2017.

From the acquisition of California from Mexico in 1848, to the agricultural ties of the Valley of Heart’s Delight, to the transition of Silicon Valley, Latinos have strong cultural connections to Santa Clara Valley. Historically, we merge the issues of economic equality, civil rights, and local environmental concerns together. Latinos have consistently shown they care about our culture, nature, future generations, and a strong connection to the land. There is a place right here in Santa Clara Valley that deserves such care, though many don’t even know about it. It’s known as the Coyote Valley.

Read More October 06, 2017

Urban Open Space Corner - October 2017

As we head into the fall season, the Open Space Authority has been working diligently with our Measure Q Urban Open Space grantees as they break ground and complete projects. Take a look at some of the exciting projects below.

Read More October 04, 2017

The South Valley Meadow From Above

There's a new reason to go take a hike at the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve this fall - the South Valley Meadow restoration is complete and ready to capture the coming rains!

Read More October 04, 2017

The Loma Fire: One Year Later

A year ago, the Loma Fire, one of Santa Clara County’s most destructive wildfires on record took hold of the Santa Cruz Mountains. This massive fire burned for two weeks across more than 4,400 acres, including 2,000 acres of Authority lands. The fire destroyed homes, sensitive wildlife habitat, and native vegetation.

A year later, the charred landscape is again showing signs of life.

Read More October 04, 2017

Folk icon Joan Baez honored by Committee for Green Foothills

Written by Eric Kurhi. Published in the Mercury News September 24, 2017. Photo by Eric Kurhi.

COYOTE — It wasn’t the most prominent award bestowed upon folk icon and social activist extraordinaire Joan Baez this year — she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — but the Woodside resident was all smiles among fans at the Committee for Green Foothills fundraiser on Sunday.

Baez, a Woodside resident who is internationally known for her three-octave soprano range and diehard anti-war efforts, is also known on the local level for preservation work on the Peninsula, particularly those aimed at helping fauna friends.

Read More September 24, 2017

Silicon Valley farms? They're there, and they're worth millions

Written by Eric Kurhi. Published in the Mercury News September 24, 2017. Photo by Josie Lepe/Bay Area News Group

SAN MARTIN — As fourth-generation men of the earth, the Bonino brothers know their picked profession isn’t for everyone.

Their century-old LJB Farms has been around since long before the term “Silicon Valley” was coined, but it’s now an outlier in Santa Clara County, a throwback to days when it was known as the Valley of Heart’s Delight.

Read More September 24, 2017

Heidi Sickler: San Jose's sustainability plan is good government use of tech

Written by Heidi Sickler. Published in the Mercury News September 4, 2017. Photo by Karl Mondon.

Silicon Valley’s technology industry continues to demonstrate its enduring power to innovate. Year after year, the companies that call the Valley home dominate the marketplace with new tools, applications, and services.

However, tech is not the only sector of our local economy that is demonstrating world-class creativity.  Our local governments also are adopting innovative policies and programs to address many of the issues critical to the region’s quality of life.

Read More September 04, 2017

NEWS: Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority Recognized by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority has achieved national recognition as the first public agency to receive Land Trust Accreditation and now stands with 389 accredited land trusts across the United States. This recognition culminates an extensive evaluation process by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission to ensure the Authority’s land protection policies and programs meet rigorous quality standards. As a public agency, the Open Space Authority holds itself to a high standard and accreditation adds another level of commitment to excellence and professionalism.

Read More August 10, 2017

Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage

The Open Space Authority is releasing the Draft Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage report that articulates a vision to protect and restore areas within Coyote Valley that are critical to ensure ecological connectivity, health, and resilience to climate change. This landmark report outlines recommendations to create a landscape linkage for wildlife, connecting and protecting the biodiversity between the Santa Cruz and Diablo Mountain Ranges. The report also lays out a scientifically based design that integrates wildlife movement, habitat restoration, water resources, and agriculture to provide long-term ecological resilience to a changing climate. Learn more and read the report here.
Read More June 15, 2017

Bobcat Release at Little Uvas Open Space Preserve

The Open Space Authority recently joined its partner, Wildlife Education & Rehabilitation Center (WERC), at Little Uvas Open Space Preserve for the release of a bobcat named Oakley back into the wild. WERC has been caring for Oakley for the last 9 months and it was finally time for her to go back home.

Watch as Oakley ventures back into the wild and learn more about her care at WERC.

Read More June 07, 2017

Open Space Authority has purchased HISTORIC property in the Santa Teresa Foothills

The Santa Teresa Ridge parcel, marked by unique rock outcroppings and extensive valley views, sits on the southern edge of the Santa Teresa Foothills in the City of San José. Located above the Greystone neighborhood near the Boulder Ridge Golf Course, the former agricultural parcel is rich in Santa Clara Valley history including the Greystone Quarry site.

Read More May 09, 2017

The Economic Impact of the 2016 Loma Fire

The 2016 Loma Fire, which burned over 2,000 acres of the Open Space Authority’s lands, caused state and local agencies to incur significant costs - including substantial costs to the Authority during and after the fire. But in terms of economic impacts, often overlooked are the fire-related costs to the health and sustainability of our communities that stem from loss of vital ecosystem service benefits.

Read More May 05, 2017

Measure Q Urban Open Space Grants Awarded Exceed $1.5 million

The Board of Directors for the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority has awarded $1,553,077 in the initial grant cycle for the Measure Q Urban Open Space competitive grant program. Fifteen organizations serving Santa Clara County residents, including nonprofits, schools, cities and the County, received grant funds for community gardens, outdoor leaders training, environmental education, homeless stream stewards, sustainable food systems and more. The $1.5 million in grant awards leverages more than $1.1 million in matching funds from the grantee organizations for total urban open space investment of more than $2.6 million.

Read More November 17, 2016

Open Space Authority Loma Fire Response Targets Watershed Restoration and Recovery

!LomaFire.jpgNearly 2,000 acres of open space lands burned in the recent Loma fire. Immediate priorities for the Open Space Authority include ensuring public safety from landslides and other hazards, barring illegal access (particularly preventing motorized vehicles from damaging exposed slopes), and reducing environmental impacts such as soil erosion and the flow of debris and sediment into the Chesbro and Uvas Reservoirs.

Read More October 20, 2016

Rancho Cañada del Oro Preserve scheduled to re-open 10/29/16

The Rancho Cañada del Oro will be closed for another week to allow for rehabilitation and recovery from the Loma Fire. Currently, the Open Space Authority's open space technicians are working to rehabilitate and restore several areas of the preserve that were severely damaged by the fire. Heavy equipment is being used for the restoration and so the preserve will remain closed during this time to ensure public safety. The preserve is scheduled to re-open at 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Read More October 10, 2016

Ash Kalra: Don't squander Coyote Valley's value as open space

Published in the Mercury News October 5, 2016.

The state of California has always been in the forefront of climate change policy. Now, we have taken a revolutionary new step in the fight against global warming, by recognizing the importance of preserving open space.

How can preserving forests, farmlands and hillsides reduce greenhouse gases? The answer lies in the ability of trees and plants to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. When we convert open space and farmland to urban development, not only do we increase greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings and cars, but we destroy the green areas that were absorbing those gases – a double whammy for global warming.

Read More October 05, 2016

Loma Fire

The Loma Fire began on Monday, September 26 and burned a total of 4,474 acres off Loma Prieta Road and Loma Chiquita Road about 10 miles NW of Morgan Hill. The burn area included a portion of Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve.

Read More September 30, 2016

LTA Accreditation

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority is applying for accreditation by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. Accreditation is an extensive evaluation by the Commission to ensure the organization’s policies and programs meet rigorous national quality standards. The process culminates in the awarding of an accreditation seal as a mark of distinction in land conservation. Should the Authority successfully achieve accreditation, it will be the first special district in the U.S. to become accredited by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission.

Read More August 30, 2016

Coyote Valley Family Harvest Feast Celebrates Urban Farming and Healthy Food

The Open Space Authority cordially invites the community to the Coyote Valley Family Harvest Feast, a celebration of locally-grown food, local farms, and Silicon Valley’s agricultural roots. This free and family-friendly festival will take place on Saturday, September 10, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., at the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve, 550 Palm Avenue in Morgan Hill. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance at

Read More August 02, 2016

Urban Open Space Grant Program to Fund Outdoor Projects

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority is pleased to introduce a new grant program designed to connect more people throughout its jurisdiction with the many benefits of nature. This competitive annual grant program is funded by Measure Q and will provide funding for projects in one or more of these categories:

Read More July 12, 2016

Community Assessment Identifies Six Neighborhoods with Significant Barriers to Open Space Access

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority has released its Understanding Our Community assessment, which details barriers that prevent residents in its jurisdiction from going outdoors to enjoy nature and reaping its health and other benefits. The report identifies six neighborhoods where a greater concentration of barriers exists and deeper engagement is warranted to help ensure equitable access to parks and open space lands. Resident feedback at recent community meetings also helped to identify high priority open space and park needs in Santa Clara County.

Read More June 28, 2016

Open Space Authority Acquires Pristine Acreage in Southern Santa Cruz Mountain Region

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority has finalized its purchase of 50 pristine acres located in the foothills of the Southern Santa Cruz Mountains, west of Bailey Avenue and McKean Road in south Santa Clara County. The land will become part of the Authority’s Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, which comprises nearly 4,000 acres with more than 8 miles of trails winding through woodlands, meadows and meandering creeks.

Read More June 24, 2016

Open Space Authority Grants Funds to City of Santa Clara for Urban Open Space and Community Garden

Read More June 21, 2016

Open Space Authority Awards Inaugural Measure Q Funds to Connect Children to Nature

The Open Space Authority Board of Directors has authorized the first Measure Q investment, which was awarded to Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, through the Authority’s Urban Open Space program. The investment will help support the Museum’s project:Bridge to Nature: Bill’s Backyard, which is designed to provide urban children with a safe and welcoming introduction to the natural world. Bridge to Nature will be located on the Museum’s campus, adjacent to the Guadalupe River and bordered by low-income, inner city neighborhoods.

Read More March 03, 2016

Andrea Mackenzie Lauded for Conservation Action and Vision

Andrea Mackenzie-2.jpgBay Nature magazine’s prestigious 2016 Local Hero for Conservation Action award recognizes leadership in conservation of the natural landscapes, wildlife, and flora of the SF Bay Area. The award will be presented to Andrea on March 20, 2016 at the Bay Nature’s Local Hero Awards Dinner. For more details, click here.

Read More November 30, 2015

Regulation of Drones in Open Space Lands

In response to the growing use of drones in parks and preserves, the Open Space Authority Board of Directors has approved a policy to regulate the use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS or drones) on and above all Authority properties. Photo courtesy of Don McCullough/CC.

Read More November 16, 2015

The Future Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve

October 2015 marks a historic event in the making for the Open Space Authority with the largest land purchase to date, Coyote Ridge, an 1,831 acre property located in South San Jose. This land is so important because it houses rare serpentine habitat for many species including the threatened Bay checkerspot butterfly.

Read More October 22, 2015

Open Space Authority Protects Open Space on Santa Teresa Ridge with Strategic Acquisition

The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority Board of Directors has approved the acquisition of two pivotal land parcels totaling 8.79 acres located on Santa Teresa Ridge in San Jose’s Santa Teresa neighborhood. The property had been slated for a single family residence of up to 7,800 square feet. The parcels are a gateway to some 1,500 acres of open space land that provide a scenic backdrop to south San Jose with sweeping views across the Almaden Valley to downtown San Jose and the Mt. Hamilton Range.

Read More September 14, 2015

How Green is My Valley? by Lisa Krieger

Learn the history, flora and fauna of the Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve in Bay Nature Magazine, April 2015
Read More September 07, 2015

Arrowhead Trail Receives Certification as Interpretive Site for Juan Bautista de Anza Trail

The Arrowhead Trail at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve has been certified by the National Park Service as an official interpretive site of the historic Juan Bautista de Anza Trail. Matt Freeman, Open Space Authority Assistant General Manager, stated, “This certification recognizes the rich historical significance of the Coyote Valley and reflects the Valley Greenprint objective of connecting miles of trails throughout the Bay Area.”

Read More August 18, 2015

Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve Grand Opening

Hundreds gathered on June 27 to celebrate the opening of this stunning preserve and enjoy its 348-acres of heritage valley oaks, rolling hills, oak woodland, serpentine rock outcroppings and native grasslands. Mayor Liccardo and others spoke at the event followed by Valentin Lopez, President of the Amah Mutsun Land Trust, who offered a blessing of the land, after which the crowd gathered while dignitaries cut the ribbon for official opening of the Arrowhead Loop Trail.

Read More July 27, 2015

County of Santa Clara Awarded Grant to Preserve At-risk Farmland for Climate Benefit

Preserving farmland has many benefits, including decreasing the carbon emissions associated with urban development. A recent $100,000 grant was awarded to the County of Santa Clara, in partnership with the Open Space Authority, that will identify and protect at-risk agricultural lands in order to help reduce greenhouse gas emission. “If agriculture is to survive in South County,” says Andrea Mackenzie, Open Space Authority General Manager, “we need an innovative action plan. The time is now to align plans, programs, policies and investment affecting undeveloped agricultural lands and demonstrate that conserving farmland from development is a critically important climate change strategy.”

Read More July 24, 2015

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo: New era of conservation gaining momentum in Coyote Valley

Written by Paul Rogers. Published in the Mercury News June 27, 2015. Photo by Jim Gensheimer.

SAN JOSE — After decades of conflict over whether to build technology campuses and housing in Coyote Valley, the scenic expanse of ranches and farms on San Jose’s southern edges along Highway 101, a new momentum has begun to keep the area free of urban development, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo said Saturday.

Liccardo said that although the city’s general plan, approved in 2011, still allows for tech campus development in the northern part of the 7,400-acre Coyote Valley, no tech companies have approached him hoping to build there. And, Liccardo added, his strong preference is for the firms to locate downtown, in North San Jose or in other urbanized parts of the city.

“I have no desire to invest in infrastructure development on the southern edges of San Jose,” Liccardo said in an interview, adding that if no new construction ever came to the rural valley “I wouldn’t lose any sleep.”

Read More June 27, 2015

Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve, Near Gilroy

The Authority recently purchased 183 acres of farmland in South Santa Clara County where the Pajaro River and Llagas Creek intersect. The land provides tomatoes, peppers, and leaf lettuces and the farm is part of a large complex of protected, productive farms that also provide flood prevention benefits to downstream communities. The property, which is south of the City of Gilroy, has been designated the Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve. The Authority's intent is to keep it in productive agriculture, while also managing it for the other benefits that our working landscapes provide.

Read More February 24, 2015

Private/Public Partnership Succeeds in Securing Pivotal Property

October 17, 2014 - An innovative partnership between the Open Space Authority, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and the Santa Clara County Parks Department came to fruition with the purchase of 285-acres of open space land in the ruggedly beautiful and water rich Southern Santa Cruz Mountains region. Permanent protection of this property will serve the public’s interest by expanding outdoor recreation and education opportunities, while closing gaps in regional trail connections.

Read More October 20, 2014

Marc Landgraf Joins Open Space Authority

The Open Space Authority is excited to welcome Marc Landgraf as the new External Affairs Manager. In this role he will develop new public, nonprofit and private funding opportunities and conservation partnerships to support the Authority’s mission of preserving open space lands in Santa Clara County.

Read More July 12, 2014

Julian McPhee Family Bequeaths Beloved 116-Acre Family Property

Llagas Creek Rancho GGS v2.jpgThe Open Space Authority Board of Directors voted to accept the generous gift of a 116-acre property from the Julian McPhee family. The property, located in the water-rich area of the eastern foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains in the Upper Uvas Creek Watershed adjacent to Uvas Canyon County Park, presents an opportunity to expand recreation in the eastern foothills and provide visitors with a unique redwood experience.

“This property has been in our family for many years and was used as a weekend getaway,” said Rick Lavalle, grandson of Julian McPhee. “We are so pleased that the land will be protected in perpetuity and provide wildlife habitat, scenic views and future hiking and recreation for the public.”

Read More May 16, 2014

Wildfire Monitoring and Safety Funding Partnership

The Open Space Authority and the Santa Clara Valley Water District (SCVWD) have partnered to fund the installation of a new early detection fire camera for Santa Clara County, which will be managed and monitored by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE). Having just last week declared fire season open in the Bay Area—a month earlier than usual—CAL FIRE anticipates that this and future cameras could help firefighters locate and suppress fires before they become large destructive events in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The camera, purchased by the County, will provide 24/7 live feeds to CAL FIRE, and is designed to identify and help locate potential wildfire hot spots. The combined $11,000 given by the Authority and SCVWD will allow for the installation of the camera and for training of CAL FIRE field staff in its use. With the current drought and a potentially devastating fire season upon us, we’re privileged to be able to partner with SCVWD in support of CAL FIRE and its new wildfire cam.  
Read More May 15, 2014

Protecting Nature’s Benefits: The Importance of Wildlands and Natural Areas

Message from Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager

Read More November 01, 2013

Valuing Open Space—Preserving Land is No Frivolous Luxury

by Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager
Published in the San Jose Mercury News on June 13, 2014

Read More June 13, 2013

New Property on Coyote Ridge!

The Open Space Authority has acquired parcels totaling 28.45 acres of open space land on Malech Road in the Upper Coyote Valley Area in Santa Clara County. The property is characterized by rare serpentine grassland, rock outcrops and Blue Oak Savanna. The site also contains a perennial spring and a tributary to Coyote Creek, a steelhead stream. A three-acre portion of the site offers potential for public access, environmental education and staging opportunities for a future Open Space Preserve.
Read More June 01, 2013

The Tiniest Patients

Amy Yee, President of the Board of Directors, Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center

How do you care for an avian patient no bigger than your little fingernail? The patient has no feathers, requires a special formula every 15 minutes from dawn to dusk and a consistently warm temperature?

Read More November 07, 2012

Key Land Purchase Expands Open Space Authority Preserve in Southern Santa Clara County

On October 11th, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority Board of Directors gave final approval to acquiring 120-acres on Canada Road in southern Santa Clara County. The property, owned by Santa Barbara Bank and Trust, is adjacent to the southerly border of the Authority’s 702-acre property purchased in 2007, which will be enlarged to create a 822-acre open space preserve.

Read More October 24, 2012

Recent Acquisition Protects Llagas Creek Watershed

Santa Clara County gains significant water resource protection with the Authority’s purchase of the Hifai property, 160-acres of open space land located in the upper headwaters of the Llagas Creek Watershed.  The property is in South San Jose off Loma Chiquita Road and adjacent to the Authority’s holdings on Mt. Chual, a prominent southern Santa Clara County peak.

Llagas Creek is a primary source of fresh water for the county’s agricultural sector and is designated as critical habitat for the threatened South-Central California Coast (S-CCC) steelhead trout. The land affords potential habitat for the smooth lesinga and Santa Cruz Mountain’s beardstongue, two state-listed threatened plant species.

Read More July 09, 2012

Land Protection Reduces Fire Risk

Authority staff recently helped avert a disastrous fire on the Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve that could have destroyed trees and wildlife habitat on hundreds of acres. Field staff discovered a hillside fire, notified Cal Fire, and helped them navigate access roads to the property. The firefighters quickly contained the blaze. The Authority’s partnerships with Cal Fire and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department ensure maximum protection of public lands from fire and natural disasters, as well as illegal activities such as poaching and vandalism.

Open space land protection does not end with purchase of a property — it is just the beginning. The Authority monitors and maintains its properties to insure against fire and flooding. Volunteer Trail Patrol and Land Stewards work with Authority staff to protect people, wildlife and natural resources.
Read More June 29, 2012

Assistant General Manager Matt Freeman to Join the Santa Clara County Food Systems Alliance

Assistant General Manager Matt Freeman will join the Santa Clara County Food System Alliance (FSA) on behalf of the Open Space Authority. Matt will replace the Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee member Eric Carruthers, who served on the FSA for over eight years. The FSA recently released an important assessment of the county’s food system, available here. Over the next several months, the FSA will be developing a work plan to implement the highest-priority recommendations that emerged from the assessment, including the need to permanently preserve the county’s productive farms and ranches. For more information, visit the FSA website.

Read More May 02, 2012

"A Little Piece of Heaven"

The Open Space Authority purchased 160-acres of pristine property in a partnership with Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST). The Authority will add the land to its 4,334 acre Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve.

“This property contains the headwaters of Twin Falls Creek in Edson Canyon, a tributary of Llagas Creek.  Preservation of this land allows us to expand our stewardship of this fragile watershed and contribute to the protection of our county’s water supply,” said Open Space Authority’s General Manager Andrea Mackenzie.

Read More March 22, 2012

Watershed Property Protected

The Authority has acquired 160+ acres off Casa Loma Road just west of its Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. The property is lush with mixed evergreen forest, Coast live oak forest, and riparian forest with two seasonal tributaries to Llagas Creek, an important steelhead stream. Preservation of this property contributes to the protection of the Llagas Creek Watershed and helps maintain important habitat. In the future, this property could provide a bridge for a future trail that extends between Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve and the Authoritys holdings in the Uvas Creek Watershed, thereby expanding public access and recreation in the area.

Read More March 22, 2012

New Assistant General Manager, Matt Freeman

We are pleased to announce that Matt Freeman will be joining the Open Space Authority as Assistant General Manager. Matt has over twenty years of experience in land conservation, open space planning, and resource management. He will lead the Authority’s strategic planning process in 2012-2013, developing a long-range conservation vision for hundreds of thousands of acres of productive farmland and foodshed, critical greenbelts, streams and wildlife linkages across Santa Clara County.

Read More January 03, 2012

Message from Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager

As stewards of the land, creeks, trees, plants and wildlife across Santa Clara County, we know that each season creates a special magic. Winter months offer cold, clear night skies for stargazing. The migration of birds adorns the skies of the Pacific flyway. A greening occurs as rain nurtures the landscape and all living things.

Read More December 16, 2011

Sierra Vista: Feel Like You’re on Top of the World!

Enjoy a guided tour of the new Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve trails with award-winning TV journalist Doug McConnell, Andrea Mackenzie, and Janet McBride here. Breathtaking views include lush canyons and a birds-eye view of downtown San Jose.

Read More October 25, 2011

Andrea Mackenzie Appointed as General Manager

The Board of Directors is excited to announce the appointment of Andrea Mackenzie as the new General Manager at the Open Space Authority. The staff and Board are looking forward to Andrea formally joining the team on April 18. [see Press Release]

Read More March 15, 2011

One small step for hilltop access in Morgan Hill

El Toro, the iconic peak on the western edge of Morgan Hill, has long been a tantalizing but forbidden treat for hikers because much of it is private property. The Morgan Hill Historical Society has hosted annual hikes on the peak, offering the only access.

Read More October 01, 2010

Open Space Authority is set to begin a strategic visioning process

At its September 23 meeting the Authority Board of Directors selected La Piana Consulting to guide the board through a strategy development process. Lester Olmstead-Rose, director of strategic practice for La Piana, will be the principal consultant. An experienced consultant and facilitator, he brings a background in business, government and nonprofit management to the task as well as fluency in Spanish.

Read More September 23, 2010