Coyote Valley

Coyote Valley

Coyote Valley

Coyote Valley

Coyote Valley

Coyote Valley, located on the southern edge of San José, is an expanse of wild fields and farmland that connects the San Francisco peninsula’s Santa Cruz Mountains with the vast wilderness of the neighboring Diablo and Gabilan Ranges. Restoring and protecting Coyote Valley is critical to maintaining its role as a key movement corridor for local wildlife to travel safely between mountain ranges. The Valley also serves as a floodplain for Coyote Creek and its tributaries, which holds excess storm water and naturally filters groundwater—reducing risk to local communities from flooding and helping ensure access to clean water.

Protection Status

Since the 1980s, Coyote Valley has been under threat of development. Key portions of the Valley are currently protected through local conservation actions accomplished via public-private efforts, with land purchased to protect the wildlife linkage as recently as 2022. In late 2021, the City of San José and County of Santa Clara approved bold policy actions in Coyote Valley that have increased the momentum towards permanent conservation. More work needs to be done, but the paradigm shift to preserving natural and working lands in Coyote Valley for public benefit is well underway.

Currently, local conservation groups are working to secure funding for further protection, restoration, and on-going management of the area and are collaborating with others in the area to shape a vision for Coyote Valley’s future that prioritizes wildlife resilience and regional biodiversity, expands outdoor recreation opportunities, supports agriculture and helps nearby communities maintain a clean water supply that is resilient to the threats of climate change.

Protection Status

Since the 1980s, Coyote Valley has been under threat of development. Key portions of the Valley are currently protected through local conservation actions accomplished via public-private efforts, with land purchased to protect the wildlife linkage as recently as 2022. In late 2021, the City of San José and County of Santa Clara approved bold policy actions in Coyote Valley that have increased the momentum towards permanent conservation. More work needs to be done, but the paradigm shift to preserving natural and working lands in Coyote Valley for public benefit is well underway.

Currently, local conservation groups are working to secure funding for further protection, restoration, and on-going management of the area and are collaborating with others in the area to shape a vision for Coyote Valley’s future that prioritizes wildlife resilience and regional biodiversity, expands outdoor recreation opportunities, supports agriculture and helps nearby communities maintain a clean water supply that is resilient to the threats of climate change.

Local experts

Learn more about Coyote Valley from experts on the ground.

”Our Best Last Chance” by Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

BIODIVERSITY

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Coyote Valley provides safe passage between mountain ranges for a diverse array of California wildlife—from badgers and mountain lions to bobcats. Coyote Valley is a hot spot for over 215 species of birds, including burrowing owls and an endangered species of striking tri-colored blackbird, who live in the Valley’s fields and wetlands. It is also a home to the endangered Bay Checkerspot butterfly, which thrives in the Valley’s rainbow of wildflowers. 

Restoring Coyote Valley’s wildlife corridor is an opportunity to connect and preserve these species’ homes and help foster their continued survival as they adapt to climate change.

CLIMATE RESILIENCE

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Coyote Valley’s 1000+ acres of historic wetlands provide flood and wildfire protection for local communities, and act as a natural water treatment plant for groundwater. Floodplains like Coyote Valley provide a natural filtration system by allowing stormwater to collect and filter into the area’s underground aquifer, from which it can be pumped back up when needed for drinking water with minimal treatment. Preservation of the natural floodplain is extremely important to reduce flood risk for urban communities downstream, by letting waters spread during major storm events, both slowing and reducing the amount of water rushing downstream.

Protection of working lands is also an important factor in the success of Coyote Valley’s preservation, including rangelands with conservation-oriented management plans and farmland with organic operations and set-asides for wildlife habitat.

ACCESS

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Coyote Valley provides access to outdoor recreation opportunities at the edge of the urban South Bay, including San José, Morgan Hill, Gilroy and other nearby communities. This area is critical as much of the open space in the region has been lost to development.


Tribal Acknowledgement

Coyote Valley is the ancestral homeland of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe of the San Francisco Bay Area who work today to restore and protect their culture and connect to the land. They also support Coyote Valley’s protection and restoration through engagement with local conservation organizations.


Local Views

See how others are sharing their #PowerInNature

Andrea Mackenzie

Where else do you find open space, recreation, farmland and wildlife habitat right next to a large metropolitan area? The fact that Coyote Valley is still here is a miracle. Protecting it is our number one priority.”

Andrea Mackenzie

General Manager, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

Resources

NEWS

Santa Clara County approves plan to conserve and protect Coyote Valley to help local farmers

KRON 4
NEWS

‘The right thing to do’: North Coyote Valley will be preserved as open space and farmland

THE MERCURY NEWS
Walter T. Moore

The natural environment is our first line of defense against climate change. This land—especially along a creek corridor—serves us all best if we allow it to act as the wildlife passage and groundwater repository that it wants to be.”

Walter T. Moore

President, Peninsula Open Space Trust

DID YOU KNOW?

Portions of the hills surrounding Coyote Valley are made up of rare serpentine soil, which contains heavy metals and can be toxic to many plants. However, the region is home to several native plants that need serpentine soil to thrive, some of which are found nowhere else on Earth—including the Coyote Ceanothus, which was named after the Valley.

Coyote Valley
Pine cone

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