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August 2020

Renewing Our Investment in Nature: The Open Space, Wildlife Habitat, Clean Water, and Increased Public Access Funding Measure

I hope that in these unprecedented times, you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. I also hope you are finding solace and peace in nature, whether nearby in your neighborhood or in the beautiful open spaces that surround the Santa Clara Valley. As we’ve seen in recent months, access to nature and the many benefits it provides is more important than ever. The Authority has been hard at work to keep our preserves open for you throughout the pandemic while stewarding the entirety of its 26,000+ acres of natural and working lands. It is with these important goals and priorities in mind that the Open Space Authority Board of Directors voted unanimously to place a renewal of the Open Space, Wildlife Habitat, Clean Water, and Increased Public Access Measure on the November 3, 2020 ballot. If passed by two thirds of the voters, the measure will renew the 2014 Measure Q $24 annual parcel tax, with no increase in tax rate, until ended by voters.

NCVDawn-CKifer-012020-32-1Over the past 27 years, the Open Space Authority has protected over 26,000 acres of open space, natural areas, watersheds, and wildlife habitat – providing outdoor recreation opportunities and preserving the natural beauty and environmental health of the Santa Clara Valley. We’re proud that so many residents, businesses, and community leaders point to our work as a vital and essential element of our region’s quality of life.

Since Measure Q passed in 2014, the Authority has nearly doubled its acres protected and with increasing visitation to the Authority’s open preserves (325,000 in 2019 and 600,000 during COVID-19) there is clearly growing demand for public access to Authority open space preserves and trails. This will require greater investment in public access improvements and staff to maintain preserves and trails and continue the Authority’s essential services to the public.

What will the new Measure accomplish?

The Authority will continue its work to:

  • Preserve our region’s natural heritage by protecting scenic hillsides, open spaces, wildlife, redwood forests, and farmland
  • Increase public access to open space and help maintain Authority preserves and trails and expand trail connections among local and regional parks
  • Protect our water supplies and reduce pollution and toxins by preserving land around creeks, rivers, and streams
  • Provide easy access to open space through urban open spaces and environmental education programs by continuing to provide up to 25% of its annual funds for equitable access to nature in the urban core

kids-in-stream-Guadalupe-River-ParkEquitable access to nature has been highlighted as an extreme need during the pandemic and continues to be of the utmost importance to the Authority. In 2015, the agency published its Understanding Our Community report which identified Deep Engagement Communities within its jurisdiction where certain populations experience greater barriers to access of parks and open space. The report recommendations have helped the Authority focus over $2.8M of urban investments in those areas that have the greatest need through its Urban Grant Program, funded by Measure Q. If passed, this measure will allow the Authority to continue providing up to 25% of its annual funds for equitable access to nature in the urban core.

The urgency of climate change underscores the need for dedicated funding to continue to protect and steward the vital natural infrastructure that benefits residents across the Authority’s jurisdiction. What’s more, the current heightened awareness of the health benefits that nature brings makes our mission to maintain and expand public access critical.

Our Fact Sheet provides more information on the Open Space, Wildlife Habitat, Clean Water, and Increased Public Access Funding Measure, including a map of all projects completed with Measure Q funding. Please visit to learn more.


Best Regards,

Andrea Mackenzie, General Manager

Help Us Reimagine the North Coyote Valley

Coyote Valley for all, forever! A 235-acre purchase in North Coyote Valley is the last of three key properties that comprise the initial 937-acre portion of the new North Coyote Valley Conservation Area. This property was acquired by the Authority in partnership with Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and included $15 million in financial support from the California State Coastal Conservancy and Wildlife Conservation Board. The Open Space Authority is now looking to the community to help determine how this land will be restored into an open space for all.

“This significant investment by the state reflects the statewide importance of protecting this landscape. These agencies recognize the many conservation benefits there are in Coyote Valley for wildlife and the people of California,” said Matt Freeman, Assistant General Manager of the Open Space Authority.

CVAL - Landscape - R.Horii - 2-5-19 - 1-1

Both agencies recognize the value of North Coyote Valley’s unique benefits, such as floodplains, local water supply, wildlife connectivity, agriculture, recreation, and more. The Authority and key partners are set to begin a science-backed and community-based planning process to establish the North Coyote Valley as a regional destination and community resource.

You can help us during this early outreach by answering a few questions about what Coyote Valley has meant to you in the past, what types of experiences you've had there, and what is most important to you for Coyote Valley's future. Your response will help the Authority and partner agencies design a space that belongs to and serves our community.

Tell us your Coyote Valley story!

Learn more about this next step for Coyote Valley here.

Better Access for All: Coyote Valley Trail Improvements

A new trail improvement at Coyote Valley Open Space Preserve seeks to make this preserve easier to access for all visitors, including those with strollers and wheelchairs, while giving people more access to scenic outlooks and interpretive signage sharing the preserve’s natural history.

CVAL - Landscape - D-Nuemann - 02-27-2015 - 2-1At only one-quarter of a mile long, the Heart’s Delight Trail is a short but important segment of the preserve’s trail network, connecting the parking area through the picturesque North Meadow. This segment contains a range of expansive oak trees, which provide wildlife habitat, and is a key spot for birdwatching and picnicking, as well as a respite from the summer heat. The Open Space Authority’s Planning Team is looking to identify opportunities for improvements to the Heart’s Delight Trail, including stabilizing the trail surface and adding trailside amenities, like additional seating and interpretive learning stations for individual and small group use.

This project is the first step in realizing a longer-term vision for ecological restoration, enhanced wildlife habitat, and nature-based recreation. Funding for this project comes from the Santa Clara Valley Water District’s Safe, Clean Water Project D3 Trails Grant Program and through Measure Q. Learn more about the project and sign up to receive updates here.

Congress Votes to Connect More Americans to the Outdoors

It’s a huge win for conservation, stewardship, and public access to the outdoors! During a time when connecting people to nature is more important than ever, a recently passed federal law will ensure that more of us can experience our public lands.


Last month, Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act after an impressive bipartisan vote of 310-107 in the U.S. House of Representatives. It was then signed into law by the President on August 4. This bill will permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which uses a small portion of revenues from offshore oil and gas royalty payments to protect public lands at the federal, state, and local level and fund conservation projects, recreational facilities, and activities for all Americans.

Under the Great American Outdoors Act, LWCF, which has struggled to hold on to consistent funding for decades, will receive $900 million annually to expand and establish open spaces nationwide. The bill also provides $9.5 billion to address the backlog of maintenance projects on public lands, including in national parks and refuges.

Ultimately, the funding will support increased public access to the outdoors, during this pivotal moment when many are recognizing the essential benefits nature provides us. Now more than ever, the overwhelming display of bipartisan support demonstrates the importance of investing in nature.

Who Am I?


I am a flying nocturnal animal with beige fur, big ears, and a wingspan of 15-16 inches! Because I spend the winter hibernating with my colony, summer is the best time to see me. As a nocturnal animal, I emerge from my roost 30 minutes to an hour after sunset and return home before dawn. I fly low to the ground in order to spot insects and other small prey to eat.

Learn Our Story - Visit Our New Homepage!

Homepage screenshot

We recently launched a brand-new homepage on the Open Space Authority’s main website, and we want you to check it out! The page features stunning images and video, easier navigation, important updates, and information about our work, all while telling the story of the Open Space Authority’s mission and accomplishments. If you haven't visited our website in a while - or ever - now is the perfect time to find out more about who we are.

Learn how we are caring for the places you love, so nature can care for you.

Visit the Homepage

The Open Space Authority is Hiring - Join Our Team!

NCV - Staff Photo - 12-12-19-1

Open Space Aide (Part-Time)
The Open Space Authority is seeking an enthusiastic Open Space Aide for 20 – 30 hours per week. As part of the Field Operations department, this position will provide essential services in opening and closing preserves for daily access.

Learn More

Lead Open Space Technician
The Open Space Authority is seeking a Lead Open Space Technician to lead maintenance and stewardship projects on our preserves, while also providing technical and functional supervision to a team of assigned staff.

Learn More

Open Space Technician II
The Open Space Authority is seeking to fill two Open Space Technician II positions to join our Field Operations team in the work to steward our protected lands and foster positive visitor experiences by maintaining a high standard of care in our open space preserves.

Learn More

Check Out Our Virtual Events Library! 


Looking for a fun activity to do this weekend? Why not learn something new about Santa Clara Valley’s open spaces? Check out our Virtual Nature Programs page to watch any of the virtual events we've hosted over the past four months. From wildflower walks to wildlife presentations to art lessons, we have over 40 (and counting!) engaging program recordings for the whole family to enjoy!

Virtual Events Page

Who Am I? Answer


I am the Pallid bat, a species common in most of western North America, including here in California. Pallid bats live in groups of up to 100 bats. Their babies are born in late spring, and by July or August they are already able to fly and find food on their own. Fun fact: the expression “as blind as a bat” does not apply to Pallid bats - they have great eyesight!

Photo Credits

People at North Coyote Valley - Cassie Kifer
Kids in Guadalupe Creek - Authority Archives
Coyote Valley Landscape - Ron Horii, Authority Volunteer
Coyote Valley North Meadow - Derek Neumann, Authority Staff
Hikers at Sierra Vista - Cassie Kifer
Pallid Bats - California Department of Fish & Wildlife
Open Space Authority Staff - Authority Archives
Animal Skull - Authority Archives

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |