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Photo by Tom Grey

Conservation Corner January/February 2019

By Shani Kleinhaus, Environmental Advocate
 

In the November-December issue of The Avocet, we described the options evaluated by the City of Palo Alto for the Emily Renzel Wetlands and ITT property in the Palo Alto Baylands. We are glad to report that the “Preferred Alternative” recommended by the Parks and Recreation Department looks to remove derelict infrastructure and fully restore the site to wetlands and habitat, while allowing access on the perimeter. SCVAS submitted a letter to the California Restoration Authority Governing Board in support of the allocation of Measure AA funding for the Renzel Marsh Restoration and Enhancement Project. Stay tuned as this process continues through City, public, and permitting processes, and looks to integrate into the Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Palo Alto Baylands.
 
Measure T in San Jose wins, what next? SCVAS endorsed Measure T, the Disaster Preparedness, Public Safety and Infrastructure Bond aimed at reducing stormwater pollution of creeks and the bay, preserving open space in Coyote Valley, and repairing streets to increase San Jose’s resilience. In November 2018, San Jose voters approved the bond, which included $50 million for flood protection provided by Coyote Valley. On January 22, the San Jose City Council is bringing the future of the valley to a special study session to discuss the allocation of funding for the purchase of land in Coyote Valley. Please join us for a Rally for Coyote Valley on January 22 at noon outside of the San Jose City Hall (contact advocate@scvas.org to sign up). We need your help to  show City Council there is broad public support for the protection of Coyote Valley.
 
Coyote Valley by Merav Vonshak
 
Coyote Highlands becomes Coyote Canyon - In 2012, SCVAS fought the Coyote Highlands Cluster Subdivision, a luxury home development proposed on the last undeveloped hillside east of Morgan Hill. This site contains three creeks and is important for nesting raptors, including Golden Eagles. We were able to convince the County Supervisors to require a wildlife-friendly perimeter fence to allow the property’s bountiful wildlife to thrive. In 2015, the property was acquired by Santa Clara County Parks, and thus became permanently protected. Now, the County Parks and Recreation Department looks to open the site (renamed Coyote Canyon) to the public. The County is working on a Natural Resources Management Plan which currently includes multi-use trails, as well as grazing, and fencing that is not wildlife-friendly. We have expressed concerns and will continue to advocate for fencing that allows wildlife access to drinking water and escape routes from fire. Please join us at the County Parks Commission meeting on the evening of February 6, 2019 (contact advocate@scvas.org to sign up).
 
We are also following: Google’s plans for North Bayshore (Mountain View) and the Diridon Area (San Jose); wildlife-friendly fencing in Los Gatos, the Light Tower Project in San Jose, Sargent Ranch sand quarry proposal in South County, Stanford expansion and General Use Permit, and much, much more.