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.
The "Coyote Ridge Grazing Program for Serpentine Species" project was awarded $938,703 from the Central Valley Project Conservation Program and Central Valley Project Improvement Act Habitat Restoration Program, both administered by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Additional matching funds are provided by the Valley Habitat Agency, Santa Clara Valley Water District, the Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), and the Open Space Authority.
Cattle play an important role in helping to conserve our native serpentine grasslands. They graze exotic grasses, which helps to protect and enhance habitat for rare species such as the threatened Bay checkerspot butterfly, Western burrowing owl, and many native plants. The grazing mammals also keep dry vegetation from accumulating in the preserves, helping to reduce future risk of catastrophic wildfires.
This new funding will be used to make two key improvements to Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve and adjacent grazing lands owned by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and VTA.
- Updating grazing infrastructure to make them friendlier to wildlife. Run-down traditional fencing will be replaced with new fencing that makes it easier for wildlife to move through the properties while still managing for cattle. Springs and troughs will also be developed or upgraded so the cattle have additional water sites on the property which allows the rancher to have more flexibility to move cattle around the property where needed.
- New fencing to limit cattle access to sensitive habitat and landscapes including wetland and riparian areas.