Conservation Corner March/April 2018
By Shani Kleinhaus and Mackenzie Mossing
Evergreen Initiative: A Threat to Coyote Valley
This June, San Jose residents will be asked to vote on a ballot measure that could transform the open space and wildlife habitat of Coyote Valley into sprawling subdivisions. The so-called “Evergreen Senior Homes Initiative” is a deceptive, misleading scheme that will rewrite San Jose’s General Plan to impose a “senior housing overlay” on all of San Jose’s “underutilized employment lands”. This includes North Coyote Valley, an area of ecological, hydrological, and cultural significance. The initiative is a blueprint for sprawl, and is not likely to help disadvantaged veterans and seniors - it actually reduces the City’s requirements for affordable housing. The initiative also circumvents environmental review and deprives the public from opportunities to participate in the review process - a process that SCVAS environmental advocates frequently engage in to protect birds and nature. Given the threat to Coyote Valley and lack of environmental review, we have joined other environmental groups and community leaders to defeat the initiative. Email MackenzieSCVAS@gmail.com or visit stopthedeception.com to learn more and click “take action” to endorse and volunteer to help.
Calling All Campbell Residents!
The City of Campbell is currently updating the “Envision Campbell” General Plan that will guide the growth of the city. This is an opportunity to advocate for a vision and policies that look to preserve and plant native trees, protect riparian habitats and open space, and require bird-safe design for buildings. The Los Gatos Creek corridor is being targeted for high-density development with no riparian setbacks. The birds and wildlife that rely on this important habitat need us to speak up for them! Please consider attending a community workshop on Monday, March 5, 6:30-8:30PM at the San Jose Christian School, and encourage the City to include nature and birds in the plan. If you are unable to attend the workshop but would like more details, please email Mackenzie at MackenzieSCVAS@gmail.com for more information and opportunities to participate.
Great Egret Chicks at Google by Mackenzie Mossing
Protecting the Ecosystems of Mountain View’s North Bayshore
Stretching between the bay and Highway 101, Mountain View’s North Bayshore is an area of significant ecological importance, and a focus of SCVAS’ advocacy for many years. The area is a birding hotspot, attracting migratory and resident birds seeking food and water in the Stevens Creek and Permanente Creek corridors, Charleston Road Marsh, and Shoreline Park. Hundreds of egrets congregate here each spring and summer to nest and raise their young along Shorebird Way. As Mountain View looks to transform the area with 9,000+ additional housing units, we engaged with our partners at the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter to advocate for the birds and wildlife that rely on the North Bayshore. Due to our efforts, the new North Bayshore Precise Plan mandates bird-safe design for all new construction, as well as setbacks from the retention basin and egret rookery. The new plan’s implementation document also includes district sustainability measures that aim to monitor biological indicators and sensitive habitats within the area.
Advocating for Birds in Cupertino
Situated next to Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve and Permanente Creek, the Forum Senior Community in Cupertino is looking to expand with additional villas and supportive care facilities. The 3,988-ace preserve is home to over 125 bird species, including several special-status species, and provides habitat for other native California wildlife. Considering the sensitive nature of the area, we provided comments on the Environmental Impact Report and asked for bird-safe design, the preservation of oaks, and mitigation for the loss of open space.
With More Planned Growth, Stanford Should Set Boundaries
As Stanford nears the completion of facilities and housing authorized by the 2000 General Use Permit, the University has applied for a new permit to add 2.275M square feet of academic and academic support (non-residential) space, 3,150 dwelling units or beds, and 40,000 square feet of additional building space to their campus between 2018 and 2035. Along with the Sierra Club Loma Prieta Chapter, we sent comments asking for bird-safe design, protections for open space, and mitigations for light pollution.