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August 2021

Coyote Valley is Yours:
Help Us Plan Its Future

View of Coyote Valley under blue skyThe Authority and our partners are excited to begin engaging with residents for the Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan. Premiering this September is an exciting three-part educational webinar series titled Discover Coyote Valley to help introduce people to this unique landscape and spread the word about how to get involved.

The goal of the Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan process is to bring technical experts, local stakeholders, and the community together to create a roadmap for conserving this irreplaceable landscape and permanently protect its vital benefits for human and natural communities alike. The master planning process will inform how we can create a vital connection between people and place in Coyote Valley, while supporting this vibrant ecosystem for years to come.

The development of the Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan will engage partners, stakeholders, business, and residents in the Santa Clara Valley throughout the duration of the planning process over the coming years. Using an inclusive public planning process, the Plan, managed by the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority in close partnership with the Peninsula Open Space Trust and the City of San Jose, will be science-based, collaborative, innovative, and reflective of the values of each agency and the communities they serve.

The three-part educational webinar series launching Thursday, September 16 will give participants a deep dive into all-things Coyote Valley. From the unique, diverse wildlife that call this landscape home, to protecting water resources and agriculture for food security, to this landscape’s critical role in mitigating climate change.

Together we can play a meaningful role in restoring this vital landscape for nature and people, and we look forward to creating a brighter, greener future, together.

Read more about this exciting educational webinar series and register here.

White-Tailed Kite:
A Conservation Success Story

White Tailed Kite flying through a blue skyWith scientists warning that humanity is causing the sixth mass-extinction of Earth’s history, it’s not often we hear uplifting stories about the success of an endangered species. And more seldom do such stories take place right in our own backyard. This is the case, however, for the white-tailed kite, a once highly endangered bird. Much to our excitement, the white-tailed kite is defying the odds and making a comeback in the Santa Clara Valley.

Due to habitat loss, kite populations began declining in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and by the 1930s, they were almost completely extinct. But now categorized as a species of Least Concern, the white-tailed kite has come a long way.

Kite populations began improving in the 1970s, when habitat conservation became a priority for many activist groups and agricultural practices began shifting towards environmentally beneficial methods. This conservation movement is exemplified in current practices we see in Coyote Valley today.

While the comeback of kites is incredible, it’s also critical to understand the importance of protecting their limited habitat. “Santa Clara County is a huge base for their population, and Coyote Valley itself is prime habitat for them,” says David Mauk, Natural Resource Technician at the Authority. “This is the locus.”

California’s riparian corridors and oak savannas near grasslands are prime habitats for white-tailed kites in North America. Coyote Valley is home to one of the largest populations of white-tailed kites, which speaks volumes to the success of local conservation efforts and conserving this land moving forward.

With support from local partners and volunteers, the Authority works tirelessly to protect and restore landscapes that support a vast array of wildlife, like white-tailed kites. There are many ongoing projects restoring riparian vegetation that are critically important to kites, including the upcoming Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan, which will further protect this landscape’s wildlife.

Additionally, the success of the species in this region exemplifies the opportunity and necessity of sustainable agriculture. In the Authority’s Pajaro River Agriculture Preserve, the kind of land-use that once decimated the population of white-tailed kites is now doubling as their habitat. “We have spotted over 25 kites nesting communally at Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve,” Mauk notes. This preserve borders organic agricultural properties and a riparian corridor that offers heavy tree cover supporting white-tailed kites. “This goes to show that modern agriculture, when done properly, can absolutely provide adequate habitat for nesting kites.”

Visit our website to learn more about the Authority's conservation work in this critically important landscape, and or sign up for volunteer opportunities to get involved.

You can also read more about the amazing comeback of the white-tailed kite here.

Five Benefits to Protecting Coyote Valley

Two hikers sitting on bench overlooking Coyote Valley

Why is Coyote Valley a landscape of statewide significance, you ask? Here are just five reasons that’ll give you a little more insight as to why Coyote Valley is one of the Authority’s top conservation priorities. Discover five of the many benefits to protecting Coyote Valley forever and for all, here.

Staff Spotlight: Meet Nick Perry

“This is why I went into city planning. This is what I hoped to do.”

Nick Perry staff headshotA link to the past, a symbol in the present, and an opportunity for the future -- Coyote Valley tells a story. Nick Perry, Coyote Valley Project Manager at the Open Space Authority, is among those who know this best.

Nick was born in Mountain View to a family with a long history in the Santa Clara Valley. Throughout his childhood, Nick’s grandparents regaled him with stories about “the old” Santa Clara Valley. The Valley of Heart’s Delight was a paradise – a garden; a beautiful, rich agricultural ecosystem with limitless opportunity. But this all changed after World War II. As a teenager during the 1990s “dot com” boom, Nick saw some of the last vestiges of the valley’s agricultural past disappear.

Nick recalls going for car rides with his family to find places that looked the way his grandparents remembered them before the rapid development began. Coyote Valley was one of those places, and before he knew it, Nick had his life’s work set out for him.

He became fascinated by cities, and he knew there had to be a way to allow for development without disrupting the agricultural heritage of the Valley. As a teenager in 1998, Nick learned of plans to develop Coyote Valley into a technology campus. Seeing an opportunity to learn from mistakes of the past, Nick, a sophomore in high school, created a website to raise awareness about protecting the landscape which garnered so much attention that it earned him an invitation to speak at the Greenbelt Alliance’s press conference in North Coyote Valley.

From that point on, Nick knew that city planning was his calling. After college, he took a job in the City of San Francisco’s planning department, where he designed and managed public space projects for over a decade. “I absolutely loved it there,” Nick said fondly. “Then, in 2019, I heard that the Open Space Authority protected 937 acres of Coyote Valley. They protected the land I stood on as a teenager.”

In 2020, the Authority began recruitment for a new position – a project manager for the Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan. Nick knew instinctively that this was his next step. “This is why I went into city planning. This is what I hoped to do.”

Now as he approaches his one-year anniversary with the Authority, Nick is honored to work for the landscape that holds so much meaning for his family and for the community. “I feel really lucky to be serving the people of the Santa Clara Valley, and to be in a position to help connect them to open space and the natural world,” he reflected.

But the Coyote Valley Master Plan is far from complete. In fact, Nick's work to engage our diverse communities in this important work is just beginning. Join Nick LIVE in September during the Authority’s three-part educational webinar series that’s all about the upcoming Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan process, the landscape, and how to get involved.

To keep up with Nick and his team’s progress, sign up for the Master Plan Interest list.

Read the rest of Nick's story here.

WhoOo Am I?

Who am I?

I am a bird found throughout the western United States in open grasslands, although my populations have declined due to the loss of open spaces. If you're lucky enough to spot me, I am easily identified by my mottled brown-tan feathers, bright yellow eyes, round head, and long legs. Although I'm often on the ground, I can indeed fly! Who am I?

Urban Open Space Corner: Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful BioBlitz Events

Group of people at a biolitz event

Last year, the Open Space Authority awarded over $1 million in funding to community organizations through its Urban Grant Program. Learn how Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful is using its award to get the community outside to learn about and enjoy nature - and join their next event!

Read More

Get Involved in the Coyote Valley Master Planning Process

Landscape view of Coyote Valley

With the Coyote Valley Conservation Areas Master Plan on the horizon, people of all ages, identities, and backgrounds can soon help shape the future of this incredible last chance landscape. Join our mailing list to receive project updates with opportunities to get involved.

Sign Up!

Volunteer Land Stewards: Fence Removal Project at Laguna Seca

Group of volunteers standing in front of removed fence posts

Saturday, August 14, 2021
8:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
North Coyote Valley Conservation Area

Are you looking for a fulfilling, outdoor volunteer opportunity? Roll up your sleeves and help restore Coyote Valley! Join us to clear up old fence line along the interior of the Laguna Seca wetland, part of the North Coyote Valley Conservation Area. Removing this fence will restore one of the last and largest seasonal wetlands in Santa Clara Valley and help wildlife move safely through the landscape!


Santa Clara Valley Wildlife Olympics!

Wildlife Olympics

As the world watches the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, we have been celebrating our own version of the Olympics closer to home. Welcome to the Santa Clara Valley Wildlife Olympics 2021! Learn more about 15 special animal Olympians and their gold-medal events below!

Wildlife Olympics

Vacancies on the Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee

Monarch butterfly on flower

If you love nature and numbers, the Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee is the perfect volunteer role for you! This committee provides public oversight for all funds collected and allocated by Measure Q.

Learn More

Who Am I? Answer

Burrowing Owl

I am the Western burrowing owl! Over the last few decades, the population of breeding Western burrowing owls has declined in Santa Clara County. Fortunately, several Open Space Authority preserves provide the right habitat for these owls! Continuing to protect native grasslands gives us the best chance at saving them. It's only fitting that we feature this native bird on Owl Awareness Day, today, August 4!

Photo Credits

Coyote Valley landscape - Stephen Jospeh
White-tailed Kite - David Mauk, Authority Staff
Hikers at Coyote Valley - Marc Bergreen
Nick Perry - Nick Perry, Authority Staff
Burrowing Owl - David Mauk, Authority Staff
BioBlitz Event - Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful
Coyote Valley Landscape - Stephen Joseph
Volunteers - Kat Hill, Authority Staff
Wildlife Olympics - Annamarie Pilon, Authority Staff
Monarch Butterfly - David Mauk, Authority Staff

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |