AB 948 Gives Coyote Valley Statewide Significance
Update: We are pleased to share that on September 27th, Governor Newsom signed AB 948, formally recognizing the Coyote Valley Program Area as a resource of statewide importance.
As an early endorser of AB 248 and as a leading Coyote Valley protection advocate, Greenbelt Alliance is excited for the environmental future of San Jose. The City of San Jose is about to begin its General Plan review process, during which the taskforce will consider the long-term future of Coyote Valley. We encourage the City to use this opportunity to follow the State’s lead in recognizing the area’s irreplaceable value as a vital natural and agricultural resource. Kiyomi Honda Yamamoto, our South Bay Regional Representative and San Jose resident, will represent Greenbelt Alliance on the taskforce.
We thank Assemblymember Ash Kalra and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority for leading the successful effort to establish the 17,400 acre Coyote Valley Program Area as a statewide resource that must be preserved.
On March 26th, Assemblymember Ash Kalra proposed Assembly Bill 948 to help preserve Coyote Valley’s irreplaceable wetlands, wildlife, and open space, and Greenbelt Alliance is proud to support the bill.
The bill has the State of California officially recognizing Coyote Valley as an area of statewide significance and creates opportunities for its protection and conservation. Coyote Valley, which has faced the danger of development constantly through its history, provides San Jose with benefits ranging from agriculture and biodiversity to flood protection and carbon sequestration.
AB 948 authorizes the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority to create a Coyote Valley Conservation Program. This program would build on existing recreation and conservation programs and engage in land use decisions around Coyote Valley. With the rapid urbanization of San Jose, Assemblymember Kalra’s bill will help this region protect our open spaces from sprawl development.
The bill also recognizes Coyote Valley’s unique landscape as a key factor in flood protection for San Jose. Natural wetland habitat in Coyote Valley serves as a floodplain, reducing the flow of Coyote Creek in the rainy season. In 2017, Coyote Creek flooded into San Jose and displaced 14,000 residents from their homes. Preserving Coyote Valley will allow it to act as a natural defense to an increasingly unpredictable climate.
In November, a 71% super-majority of San Jose voters passed Measure T, which dedicates up to $50 million to green infrastructure in Coyote Valley. San Jose residents recognize that Coyote Valley provides immeasurable benefits through its natural green infrastructure, rich agriculture, and diverse wildlife. AB 948 is an important next step in the fight to save Coyote Valley.
Photo: Yūgen via Flickr
Written by Nikita Sinha