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April 2019

State Bill Would Grant Coyote Valley Statewide Recognition and Lay Groundwork for a More Climate Resilient Future

#44 Coyote Valley-1

As agencies across the state are beginning to emphasize the importance of protecting our natural lands and their resources, Assemblymember Ash Kalra introduced AB 948, which would create the Coyote Valley Conservation Program to be administered by the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. If the bill is passed, Coyote Valley will receive statewide recognition as a landscape of significant importance for its natural infrastructure benefits including flood risk reduction, wildlife protection, and climate resilience.

Nestled between the fast-growing cities of San Jose and Morgan Hill, the Coyote Valley is a unique natural and agricultural landscape that provides an essential corridor for wildlife moving between hundreds of thousands of acres of open space in the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range, where over $3.5 billion has already been spent to conserve habitat. AB 948 designates a Conservation Program area covering over 17,000 acres to create a structure for realizing restoration, preservation, and recreation projects.

Coyote Valley has been under the threat of development for over 40 years. Now is the time to protect this irreplaceable landscape for nature and people and acknowledge the important role Coyote Valley plays in the sustainability and resiliency of the greater south bay region. The Authority expects AB 948 to help guide future state resources to protection, restoration, and public enjoyment of this amazing landscape. Coyote Valley has long faced intense development pressure and the passage of this bill may position Coyote Valley to access natural resources bond funding to implement the conservation and restoration vision for Coyote Valley.

Urban Open Space and Environmental Education Corner

The Open Space Authority has made a commitment to Investing in Nature within our communities through the Measure Q Urban Open Space and Environmental Education Grant Programs. These grant programs have already awarded $2.8 million in funding to dozens of organizations making a difference here in the Santa Clara Valley. Here are some recent updates from two organizations supported by the Authority’s Measure Q Environmental Education Grant Program.

Veggielution What similarities do a farm and middle school math and science classes have? A lot, actually. Veggielution's Eastside Explorers program is bringing local middle school students out to their East San Jose farm to learn about the work they do and connect it to what they are learning in the classroom. “We’re looking to give students tangible examples, something they can see and feel, beyond what they can read in a textbook,” says Emily Schwing, Program Manager.

The program expects to serve more than 500 students this year. Each semester's field trips have a theme - last fall was composting, and this spring is watershed protection. Students are learning about where our water comes from as well as what the school and the farm are doing to protect our water supply and local watersheds.

Family YogaThe San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society, a local nonprofit, is inviting the community to get outside along the edge of the Bay with a peaceful session of yoga or the restorative Chinese martial art, tai chi. The program, hosted at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, offers tai chi classes on the first Saturday of every month and a five-week session of family-friendly yoga classes for adults and kids. All classes are free and followed by a nature hike to let folks explore and learn more about the refuge’s natural environment.

The organization is hoping these programs will help to introduce new people to the refuge — and these efforts seem to be working. In a recent survey of tai chi program attendees, 60% of participants reported that the class brought them out to the refuge for the first time. One attendee excitedly said, "I've been to the Alviso Marina, but didn't know this spot existed!" For others, the program is bringing back memories of childhood, "When I was a kid, my parents brought me here," said another participant.

Learn more about these programs here.

The Legacy of Earth Day in Our Open Spaces

Coyote Valley HillsideEvery April 22, we celebrate Earth Day to mark the anniversary of the environmental movement and the rise of public recognition of the threats to our environment. As we celebrate the 49th anniversary of Earth Day, we recognize that preserving natural habitats and open space remains a core part of how we need to protect our environment from continued threats including climate change. Learn more about the history of Earth Day here.

How to Celebrate Earth Day in Open Space

1. Explore an Open Space Preserve You Haven’t Visited Before

This spring, we are hosting several open weekend events at two of our normally reservation-only preserves: Diablo Foothills and Coyote Ridge. Diablo Foothills offers 7 miles of trails and expansive views over Gilroy and the south Santa Clara Valley. This preserve will be open for two weekends, April 27-28 & May 4-5. Find out more here. 

Registration for Coyote Ridge self-guided access weekends has filled up, but we want to remind visitors that registration is only for the parking space. The preserve is open to those who can get to the preserve by means other than arriving in a car (e.g. rideshare or bike). Sign up here.

2. Enjoy the Spring Wildflowers

Thanks to this spring's late rains, the season's spectacular displays of wildflowers have been extended into April! Find more about where you can spot wildflowers in our open space preserves and download a guide to identifying common plants and animals here

3. Join a Local Earth Day Event

There are several events going on this month to celebrate Earth Day and promote appreciation and conservation of our natural environment. The Authority will be participating in many of these events, including the Youth Science Institute’s Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 20 at Alum Rock Park. Families can learn about local pollinators, sustainable gardening, and native plants, take an instructor-led hike, meet the institute’s live animal ambassadors, and more! Other events include San Jose State Environmental Science Department’s Earth Day celebration on April 22 and Santa Clara’s Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration on April 25.

Join Us for this Spring's Diablo Foothills Open Weekends: Walk, Bike, or Horseback Ride!

Diablo Foothills

This spring, the Open Space Authority will be opening up the currently by-reservation-only Diablo Foothills preserve just south of Gilroy, to the public. No reservation required for these public access weekend days, which will be separated by activity. Saturdays, April 27 and May 4, will be open for walking and mountain biking. Sundays, April 28 and May 5, will be open for walking and horseback riding. The preserve offers over 7 miles of trails to explore!

Check out our recommended routes with three different levels for varying fitness levels and abilities, learn about the event's docent-led activities, and download the trail map here!

Who Am I?

Anna's Hummingbird

I am a tiny bird that weighs less than 0.2 ounces when fully-grown! I have greenish-grey feathers, and the males of my species have iridescent red or pink heads and throats. My trademark “buzzing” flight sound comes from beating my wings 40-50 times per second! Who am I?

Family Picnic Day at Little Uvas Creek

Little Uvas Creek

Saturday, May 18
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Little Uvas Creek Preserve

Save the date for this fun-filled day at a picture-perfect preserve! Little Uvas Creek is located in the southern Santa Cruz Mountains, just west of Morgan Hill. The area contains beautiful rolling hills, oak trees, and a pond full of frogs, fish, and more! Families can enjoy watercolor and finger painting, nature activities and crafts, a wildlife presentation - or simply come to enjoy the beautiful outdoors together!


Tune in to Flower Fridays!

wildflower video screenshot

Have you been following our "Flower Friday" video series on social media? Each week, we highlight a native species of flower that you can find right here in our open space preserves. Watch the series on YouTube, and don't forget to subscribe to our channel!

Vacancies on the Citizens' Advisory Committee and Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee

Coyote Valley Landscape

Are you interested in facilitating community input to and from the Open Space Authority? The Citizens’ Advisory Committee (CAC) serves to provide communications to the Board from the public, aid in fostering a positive public image of the Authority, and help educate the public about the Authority’s goals and accomplishments.  

Learn More

Do you love nature and numbers? Do you believe open space lands are essential to community health and well-being? If so, the Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee might be the perfect volunteer role for you! This seven-member committee provides public oversight for all funds collected and allocated by Measure Q. Each member contributes unique talents including an understanding of budgets and audit reports.  

Learn More

We're Heading Back Out on the OpenRoad!

CVAL - OpenRoad Filming - A-Pilon - 3-15-19 - 1

Tune in on April 28 as the Open Space Authority and several community partners will be featured on NBC Bay Area’s "OpenRoad with Doug McConnell!" Learn about the many ways nature provides important infrastructure for our Bay Area communities - like flood protection, fresh food, and clean water access! The show will also be exploring some innovative programs funded by the Authority's Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant Program.

This episode will air on Sunday, April 28 at 6:30 pm on NBC Bay Area. Find your channel hereand mark your calendars!

Who Am I? Answer

Anna's Hummingbird

I am the Anna’s hummingbird. I am common across the West Cost, and you can find me in a variety of habitats, from oak woodlands to urban parks and gardens. My diet consists of nectar, insects, and sugar water from human-made hummingbird feeders. Listen for my scratching song when perched.

Photo Credits

Coyote Valley - Stephen Joseph
Eastside Explorers - Veggielution
Family Yoga - San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society
Coyote Valley Hillside - Lech Naumovich 
Diablo Foothills - Stephen Joseph
Little Uvas Creek - OSA Archive
Coyote Valley - Derek Neumann, OSA Staff
OpenRoad Filming - Annamarie Pilon, OSA Staff
Anna's Hummingbird - ccGlenn Seplak

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |