Just over twenty years ago, Monarch butterflies, one of the most charismatic and widely recognized butterfly species, lived in abundance across the United States. Often symbolizing spirituality and hope, these creatures have long been a source of wonder among us and, at the same time, have been a great source of mystery. With complex and largely unknown migratory patterns, unique life cycles, and elusiveness around humans, Monarchs have intrigued researchers for years. At the start of this year, that intrigue mounted. What once was a yearly population count in excess of 1.2 million towards the turn of the century, has since dropped to a far lower threshold of roughly 30,000. Following this already concerning decline, the 2020 count was much worse than anyone could have anticipated: a staggering 1,914 butterflies.
The impacts of climate change are intensifying rapidly and as populations continue to grow, there is an increasing need to make our cities more adaptable to the needs of the future.
Measure T, the Open Space, Wildlife Habitat, Clean Water, and Increased Public Access Measure, has been passed by 81% of voters and has secured funding for the Open Space Authority to protect open spaces for future generations. Thanks to you, the voters, we can renew our commitment to investing in nature in communities and providing Santa Clara Valley residents with more equitable access to nature while stewarding our beautiful open spaces forever.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now is as good a time as any to take a minute to reflect on everything we have to be grateful for, whether it’s nature or family, food or shelter, or simply the air we breathe.
In the San Martin region of Santa Clara County sits Frantoio Grove, a family-owned and operated specialty olive oil company that just turned 15 years old. The 30-acre grove is part of a roughly 97-acre property that is now permanently protected for agriculture through an Agricultural Conservation Easement (ACE). The land, initially anticipated to become a subdivision development, will now remain productive farmland and protected from development.
By Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager
On August 16, 2020, a thunderstorm that produced thousands of lightning strikes ignited a series of fires in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties that merged to become the CZU Lightning Complex Fire, burning 86,509 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains, destroying 1,490 structures, and causing extensive damage to protected natural areas and historic resources in Big Basin State Park, Butano State Park, and San Vicente Redwoods.
“Who do you serve?”
With concerted efforts to provide equitable access to nature for the Authority’s entire jurisdiction, this question was one asked frequently throughout the review process for the 2019-2020 cycle of the Open Space Authority’s Urban Grant Program.
San Jose, CA (September 28, 2020) - The Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority’s Board of Directors has awarded $206,324 in Measure Q grant funding to five nonprofits and a school district as part of the Small Grants category for the 2020 cycle of the Urban Grant Program. The Urban grants fund a variety of programming, including environmental education on the topics of food and agriculture, as well as environmental stewardship, with the goal of providing access to nature within the urban areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic has simultaneously raised awareness of the need urban residents have for access to nature and open spaces, while also highlighting the great disparities in our society related to that access to nature, and as well, related to access to health care, rate of disease, and life expectancy. Now, more than ever, organizations have a responsibility to better understand the health needs of the communities they serve and make a significant positive impact by providing ways for people to live healthier lives.
The newly released report, Understanding Our Community Phase II, is the latest step in the Authority’s long-term commitment to serve its diverse community in a meaningful and sustainable way.
Earlier this year, the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority’s General Manager, Andrea Mackenzie, was named as one of the top 2020 “Women of Influence” by the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
- In Acknowledgement of Earth Day
- The Equity Lens: April 2021
- Urban Open Space Corner: Our City Forest
- The Monarch Butterfly's Mysterious Decline: What You Can Do to Help
- The Open Space Authority Stands in Solidarity with the Asian American Community
- New Report Advances Authority's Priority for Protecting Grasslands
- Cities of the Future: New Report Highlights Green Urban Planning
- A Beginner’s Guide to Hiking
- California and U.S. Executive Orders Set 30 by 30 Climate Goals
- Fire and Regrowth at Diablo Foothills