Pajaro Plantings: Restoring the river

During the first week of December 2023, nearly 100 sixth and seventh grade students took a field trip to the Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve to help kickstart the restoration of a riparian forest. Over the course of the day, the students from the Indigo Program at the Oak Grove School District in San José planted roughly 200 native trees, shrubs, and forbs. By restoring important riparian habitat, this project promotes biodiversity as it provides for native wildlife and creates long-lost creekside habitat along a degraded stretch of the Pajaro River.

Read More December 07, 2023

Summer Volunteer Recap: The Season of Stinkwort

Over the 2023 summer season, volunteer Land Stewards made fantastic progress on the Open Space Authority's goal to reduce targeted populations of invasive plants throughout our managed lands. Among the many things that require persistent attention in the summertime, is an invasive plant known as stinkwort, one of the most prevalent invasive species in the region.  

Read More October 05, 2023

Why Become an Open Space Authority Volunteer?

Message from Gavin Comstock, Volunteer Program Administrator

Recently, I had a great conversation with a friend exploring when it was that we first experienced a “moment of wonder” in nature. Surprisingly, I had to dig deep to identify exactly when the hook was set. Growing up in a family that did a lot of things outside, but not necessarily camping, my formative experiences are characterized as much by people as by place. As much as the outdoors was the setting, it was a combination of personalities, places, and attitudes that informed my enjoyment. It was not until my early twenties and my participation in a semester long NOLS course (National Outdoor Leadership Schools) in the desert southwest that I found myself slack jawed at the surreal beauty of nature. Ultimately, our conversation wound its way from what formed our love of nature to considering why we still prioritize time outdoors, with others or alone.

Read More April 05, 2023

New Trails Underway at Máyyan ‘Ooyákma - Coyote Ridge

Fifteen minutes from downtown San José is a place called Máyyan ‘Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge. This unique natural landscape was protected by the Open Space Authority and partners in 2015. Nestled in the foothills of the Diablo Range, the preserve features rolling serpentine hillsides and breathtaking views of Coyote Valley. As the preserve reaches the final stages of the Public Access Project, the Open Space Authority is preparing to welcome visitors this fall. But before visitors can come out and hit the trails – the trails need to get built!

Read More March 02, 2023

How Plants Prepare for Spring

After weeks of heavy rain, hillsides are turning green, and it’s beginning to feel like spring is right around the corner. You may know that spring is "baby season” for local wildlife like ground squirrels, bobcat kits, and red-tailed hawks, but did you know the same is true for native plant life? Plants are also preparing to create new life, and in fact, this preparation happens all year long.

Read More January 30, 2023

Atmospheric River Storm: Open Spaces At Work

The first few weeks of 2023 brought a parade of Atmospheric River Storm events that ravaged California. Several feet of rain and powerful wind events caused widespread power outages, and many areas experienced intense flooding, fallen trees, and mudslides. Though the storms caused a fair amount of disruption across the region, Santa Clara Valley’s open spaces (our critical natural infrastructure) likely helped mitigate even further damage.

Read More January 30, 2023

Celebrating Open Space Volunteers

In 2022, volunteers completed over 230 trail patrols on bike, foot, and horseback, as they welcomed visitors to preserves, reported trail conditions and wildlife sightings, and supported critical field operations. They also contributed over 600 hours towards facilitating public enjoyment of our preserves, including helping during busy spring hours, and supporting large-scale events such as Open Access Days at Máyyan 'Ooyákma – Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve and Diablo Foothills, and Earth Week celebrations in Coyote Valley. By the end of 2022, the hard work of volunteers are expected to total over 3,900 hours towards our mission informed projects!

Read More November 30, 2022

Fifth Graders Become Oak Tree Heroes

In October 2022, the Open Space Authority partnered with Point Blue Conservation Science (Point Blue) to host an educational field trip in Coyote Valley through the Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed (STRAW) program. Over the course of a few hours, around 90 fifth graders from San Martin/Gwinn Environmental Science Academy built direct-seed cages for acorn plantings and learned how oak trees contribute to a healthy watershed.

Read More November 30, 2022

Animal Crossing: Improved Fencing for Local Wildlife

In 2022, the Open Space Authority installed new, wildlife-friendly fencing at Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. While it may not seem like the most dramatic restoration initiative, it is important for helping wildlife move throughout landscapes where conservation grazing is a critical strategy for grassland ecology and rare species management.

Read More October 05, 2022

Early Detection, Rapid Response

When it comes to invasive species, the best time to address the problem is as soon as you realize you have one. Invasive plants can quickly start outcompeting native species and spread to unmanageable levels, which has harmful effects on native wildlife populations. By addressing invasive plants when populations remain small, the Open Space Authority can improve the likelihood of successfully eradicating unwanted plants and using cost-effective treatments. To address these undesirable plant species at their initial stages of invasion, the Open Space Authority launched a pilot program for Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) in 2022, starting a process that will occur in yearly cycle.

Read More September 01, 2022
For media inquiries contact:

Charlotte Graham

Public Information Officer