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March 2019

Local Students Brave the Cold and Explore Careers in Open Space Protection

RCAN - CCC Broom Pull - C.Irrebaria - 2-9-19 - 2-1

This past month, students from San Jose Conservation Corps + Charter School (SJCC+CS) got the chance to explore our local open space preserves in a unique way – camping out under the stars. SJCC+CS is an education and job training program that helps disadvantaged young adults explore careers in natural resource management and green energy while finishing their high school degrees. Students learn technical skills by participating in community service projects for local partner agencies, including building and maintaining hiking trails and light construction projects.

The students spent the week working at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. They removed invasive shrubs that are known as French Broom, from around an old house, orchard area, and along the access route. Authority field staff were on site to provide tips and tricks for removing the plants and to answer questions about their daily work.

RCAN - CCC Broom Pull - A-Burnside - 2-9-19 - 2At night, the team bundled up and camped out in tents at the preserve. For most of the participants, who were born and raised in Bay Area cities, this was the longest time they had ever spent outdoors and the first time they had ever gone camping. While the winter weather made for a chilly first camping trip, the students were enthusiastic about the experience.

Learn more about this special project here.

Plan Now for Spring Wildflowers & Outdoor Adventures

Coyote Ridge OSP - Seroentine linanthum - CH - APR-26-2012 - 18After this winter’s rainstorms, we can hardly wait for what is shaping up to be a spectacular wildflower season here in the Santa Clara Valley. From common California poppies, to rare species like the most beautiful jewelflower, join us in welcoming springtime’s most colorful guests to our open spaces! 

Wildflower season often seems to come and go quickly, so check your calendar now and set aside some time to see the displays. We’ll be hosting wildflower activities throughout March and April. Space is limited at most of these events, so check out our events calendar and register when required.

5-31 - lupine 04 - JScanlon - 4-08 ORIGIn addition to our organized events, don’t forget that you can experience wildflowers on your own time, any day of the week, by visiting our three public open space preserves. Each preserve offers a unique selection of flowers: you can find shade-loving species in Rancho Cañada del Oro's woodlands, or look for sunny varieties along the rocky outcroppings of Sierra Vista. Learn more about the best places to see wildflowers in our open space preserves, and be sure to download our Come Discover Nature Guidebooka free guide to the diverse plants and wildlife in our preserves.

Connect on Social Media 

Need some inspiration for your outings? Every Friday in March we’ll be highlighting a native species of flower that you can find in our open space preserves in our “Flower Friday” series on social media. Be sure to connect with the Open Space Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, and stay tuned. Happy spring, and happy wildflower season! 

Celebrate California Wildlife by Protecting Open Space - and More!

Spring brings in new life and is a great time to think about the wild animals that call our region home. This month we celebrate both National Wildlife Week (March 13-15) and California Wildlife Day (March 20), recognizing the role wildlife plays in our natural environments and promoting how we can best protect these species.

Margaret Mantor (CDFW)

The Authority regularly supports research to help understand local wildlife and restore their habitats. The agency recently obtained funding to look at some of the lesser-known, but critical, species in our natural environment. The Coyote Valley Reptile and Amphibian Linkage Study is a nine-month project that will work to understand habitat quality for three threatened reptile and amphibian species in and around Coyote Valley. The study aims to inform efforts to help protect and connect habitats by identifying where these species currently live and the potential opportunities to link their habitat from the surrounding foothills to the valley floor.

Learn more about the ways the Authority is working to protecting our native wildlife species here.

Growing Efforts to Protect Agriculture in the Santa Clara Valley 

Coyote Valley OSP - Landscapes - DN - Dec-29-2017 - 7As part of its core mission, the Open Space Authority has taken a lead role in identifying and preserving the important agricultural lands in the Santa Clara Valley. With National Ag Week (March 10-16) and National Ag Day (March 14), we are taking the opportunity to celebrate the great efforts and partnerships that are helping the Authority identify ways to support the environmental and economic viability of the Valley’s agriculture.

In the effort to support our region's agriculture, the Authority has focused on partnerships that help protect essential farmland from development. In January, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the recommendations of the Santa Clara Valley Agricultural Plan, an innovative regional planning approach that recognizes the role agricultural preservation can play in economic development and climate change mitigation. 

These shared efforts to protect agricultural land are becoming a reality, one property at a time. Last November, the California Department of Conservation and Strategic Growth Council awarded $15 million from the State’s Cap and Trade Program to the Authority and County of Santa Clara through the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation Program (SALCP) for the purchase of three Agricultural Conservation Easements.

Learn more about the Authority's efforts to support local agriculture here.

Who Am I?

Coyote Ridge - Bay Checkerspot Butterfly - CH - 4-9-2011 - 22

I am a butterfly native to the Santa Clara Valley. After having spent the winter in a chrysalis, I emerge as an adult butterfly between late February and early May. I spend my whole caterpillar and adult life primarily living and feeding on the dwarf plantain. I was once found widespread along the Bay Area Peninsula, but factors such as pollution, pesticides, and habitat loss have greatly reduced my numbers. Who am I?

OpenRoad with Doug McConnell: Coyote Valley Water & Wildlife

tule elk cityscape

Sunday, March 10, 2019
6:30 p.m.
NBC Bay Area

Tune in to OpenRoad with Doug McConnell for an episode on Coyote Valley, the last-chance landscape just south of San Jose. Bounded by wild mountainous landscapes to the east and the west, Coyote Valley’s future as a source of water and sustenance for wildlife within view of the bay area’s biggest city is bright.    

FREE Film Screening
Wilder than Wild: Fire, Forests, and the Future

2016_RCDO_Loma Fire_Sep__DSC1167_September 28, 2016

Saturday, March 16, 2019
6:30 - 9:00 p.m.

Trianon Theater, San Jose

Join the Open Space Authority and Peninsula Open Space Trust for a free movie screening and discussion of local efforts to manage open space and forest lands to reduce fire risk.


Diablo Foothills Walk, Bike, and Ride Public Access Weekends

Doan - Vista - SJ - 07-18-2011

In late April, the Open Space Authority will be opening the currently by-reservation-only Diablo Foothills preserve just south of Gilroy to members of the public for two special-access weekends! Diablo Foothills is an 819-acre undeveloped preserve with rolling hills, ponds, and creeks. The preserve features Coast Live Oak and annual grasslands and provides habitat for the threatened California red-legged frog and endangered California tiger salamanders. Diablo Foothills offers a variety of trails for individual fitness levels and abilities.  

As part of the Authority’s continued effort to expand public access, this event will help our community learn about these protected open spaces, their wildlife and natural resources, and habitat restoration plans. 

Learn More

Who Am I? Answer

Coyote Ridge - Bay Checkerspot Butterfly - CH - 4-9-2011 - 23 (1)

I am the Bay checkerspot butterfly! My name comes from the black, red, white, and yellow checkered pattern of my wings. Although my species is listed as threatened, I am currently thriving on the rare serpentine grasslands of Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve.

Photo Credits

SJCC+CS - Cliff Irrebaria, OSA Staff
SJCC+CS camp site - Andy Burnside, OSA Staff
Tidy tips - Cait Hutnik, OSA Docent 
Lupine - John Scanlon, OSA Docent
California tiger salamander - Margaret Mantor, CA Department of Fish & Wildlife
Coyote Valley field - Derek Neumann, OSA Staff
Bay checkerspot butterfly - Cait Hutnik, OSA Docent
Tule Elk - OSA Archive
Loma Fire - Derek Neumann, OSA Staff
Diablo Foothills - Stephen Joseph

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority | 408.224.7476 |