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March 2018

Enjoy Spring in the Preserves!

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Springtime brings green hills and spectacular displays of wildflowers to our open spaces. One of the most common questions we get this time of year is where visitors can go to see the best wildflowers in our preserves.

To celebrate the season, we are excited to release our new “Come Discover Nature Guidebook", a free, downloadable guide to the diverse plants and wildlife in our open space preserves and where you will have the best chance of seeing them.

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We’ve pulled out some of our best tips for wildflower and wildlife spotting in our open space preserves. Visit our website to get a quick overview of where to go and what to look for, then download our guidebook to take with you!

Remember: Take only photos and never pick or disturb wildflowers. Please don't leave the trail for any reason. Preserve the trailside beauty for other visitors and the pollinators and other wildlife that rely on this habitat.

South County Agriculture Profile:
North Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve Restoration Success

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The North Pajaro River Agricultural Preserve is a pivotal conservation focus area that has undergone phenomenal changes as it gets a step closer to becoming active agricultural land once again. The 100.6-acre preserve lies within the Soap Lake Floodplain and is bordered by Llagas and Jones Creeks.

NPRAP Before.jpgDetermined Authority staff, stewards, and volunteers have been working since June 2017 to begin restoring the property to its former beauty—including cleaning up tons of trash and removing the graffiti on the buildings. With the help of Measure Q funds, hundreds of hours of meticulous work were put in and there has been over a hundred large truckloads of trash removed, with more work still to be done.

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Riparian and vegetation restoration projects on neighboring properties along the Pajaro River have enhanced downstream flood control, protecting downstream communities and boosting habitat for birds and aquatic species. The Authority plans to further enhance these benefits through restoration efforts on the preserve in the future.

Farmers who grow green beans will soon cultivate this storied, fertile land. The goal is to become a 100 percent organic farm with opportunities for docent-led walks in the near future. The property is also located in South County within a major agricultural  area, surrounded by farms that grow garlic, peppers, and tomatoes.

"Leasing the preserve to these farmers for growing row-crops is important due to the scarcity of available land in Santa Clara Valley, especially land in organic production," said Matt Freeman, Assistant General Manager for the Authority. "Using the preserve for row-crop production is consistent with its most recent agricultural practices and aligns with the goals of the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan to support a strong and vibrant agricultural community."

The land, used by family farmers for generations, will again put food on tables in the Santa Clara Valley while allowing native species to thrive in a protected wildlife corridor, strengthening safe passage routes between mountain ranges and along waterways.

Measure Q Urban Open Space Corner

As we head into spring, the Open Space Authority continutes to work diligently with the 2016-2017 Measure Q Urban Open Space grantees as they launch their projects. Take a look at some of the recent ones below.

A Prescription for Good Health: Santa Clara County Park & Play Initiative

ParksRX-walk-photo.jpgLocal doctors are writing prescriptions for activity and time outdoors and the Santa Clara County Park & Play Initiative is working to introduce kids and their families who are at high risk for chronic disease to nature. The initiative also encourages regular activity to help kids meet their health goals.

Here's how it works: participating health care providers hand out “park prescriptions,” inviting kids and their families to the events and providing them with a free parking pass or transportation assistance to reduce barriers to participation. The program offers free, monthly guided walks at local parks, like Alviso Marina County Park and Martial Cottle Park. Find out more on the program's website.

A partnership between the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health and the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s Pediatric Healthy Lifestyle Clinic launched in June 2017 and has guided more than 200 kids and their families on monthly walks through County parks. For many families, this is their first time visiting these local parks. Repeat visitors get to know each other and the park interpreters and bilingual community workers and start to spread the word about the events to family and friends.

Bay Area Wilderness Training - Helping Teachers Get Kids Outside

Bay Area Wilderness Training Rancho Canada.jpgBay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) is a nonprofit that helps educators and youth workers get comfortable taking kids outside and plan wilderness educational experiences. The organization provides outdoor leadership training, gear rentals, and a community of support to help teachers plan successful guided hikes and camping trips. The programs seek to expand access to the outdoors for kids with limited opportunities to experience nature, including low-income kids and youth of color.

Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant funding is helping the organization expand their services and outreach in the South Bay. In the past year, the group hosted 5 leadership trainings in the South Bay and trained youth workers and educators from 24 local agencies.The funding has also helped to extend hours at the Milpitas Gear Library, which offers free camping equipment for loan to participating educators and their students. The library has served over 1,200 youth, including a large number through the day hiking program. Trained youth leaders from the City of San Jose outfitted 91 young people with sleeping bags and sleeping pads for the city's annual Yosemite Family Camp program.

BAWT is offering several upcoming events in the South Bay. Learn more about the training programs and sign up on their website.

The 2017-2018 Measure Q Urban Open Space Grant cycle is currently closed and applications are under review. If you are interested in receiving information on the next grant cycle, please join our interest list.

Who Am I?

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I come out in March and April, where you’ll spot me in Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve and other grasslands along California’s coast, the Sierra foothills, and parts of Oregon and Nevada. Hummingbirds love my blue or purple blossoms! My flowers have a sweet and pleasant aroma.

25 Years: Looking Back

This year we’re celebrating our 25th Anniversary – a quarter century of working to protect Santa Clara Valley’s natural environment, supporting agriculture, and connecting people to nature. Each month, we’ll be featuring some of the important moments and achievements from our history.

Sierra Vista Open Space Preserve Acquired in 2000
This 1,611 acre preserve in the eastern foothills of Santa Clara County offers sweeping views of the valley and opportunities to stroll through diverse landscapes, including oak woodlands, rolling grassland, and chaparral communities. Sierra Vista also offers the best spot to watch the sunset in San Jose.

Santa Clara Valley Greenprint Released in 2014
The Authority’s board approved the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint, a science-based, detailed roadmap for conservation efforts, identifies strategies for protection of waterwildlifeworking lands, and outdoor recreation spaces that help shape the health and well-being of Santa Clara Valley residents. The Greenprint identifies 10 significant landscapes that are home to precious resources, working farmland, and threatened species.

Authority Awards Inaugural Measure Q Funds in 2016
The Authority’s very first Measure Q Urban Open Space grant was awarded in March 2016 to the Children’s Discovery Museum to support Bill’s Backyard: Bridge to Nature, an outdoor play space that give families a safe place to explore nature in the heart of Downtown San Jose. This urban play space opened in the fall of 2017.

Do you love nature
& numbers?

The Measure Q Expenditure Oversight Committee is in need of one more member. This committee provides public oversight for all funds collected and allocated by Measure Q. The position is open until filled. Apply today!

Learn more

Celebrate Local Farming
& Food

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Join us for Veggielution’s 1st Saturdays, a celebration of community farming and local food. To honor our 25th Anniversary and longstanding partnership with Veggielution, the Authority will be co-hosting these 1st Saturday events from February through May. Buy fresh, organic produce at the Farm Stand, explore the Youth Garden, participate in yoga, or watch a cooking demonstration during Veggielution Cocina. The Authority will be giving away seed pods so you can start your own garden at home!

Next date:
April 7, 2018

Learn more

Who Am I? Answer

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I’m Lupine. My long shoots of vibrant purple blossoms can extend 9 or more inches high. My distinctive leaves are palm shaped and have showy, dense flowers that are often purple or blue. I capture nitrogen from the soil and turn it into a form of fertilizer. I can often be found in combination with California poppies and Fiddleneck.

Photo Credits

Coyote Ridge Wildlfowers - JM, OSA Volunteer
Kestrel - David Mauk, OSA Seasonal Staff

Building Before and After - Dana Litwin, OSA Staff
Property Before and After - Linda Kwong, OSA Staff
Park and Play - Santa Clara County Public Heath Department, OSA Grantee
Hike Training - Bay Area Wilderness Training, OSA Grantee
Lupine - Ellen Stearns, OSA Staff

Gardening - Veggielution, OSA Partner

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |