Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan Adopted
After almost a decade’s worth of hard work by local environmental advocates including Greenbelt Alliance, the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan has finally been adopted.
On January 29, 2013 the San Jose City Council approved the plan by a 10-1 vote!
San Jose was the last governmental agency required to approve the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) before adoption. It had previously been passed by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, Santa Clara Valley Water District, City of Gilroy, City of Morgan Hill, and Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.
Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan Highlights
The Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan is groundbreaking because it creates a unified conservation program for preserving critical habitat in Santa Clara County. This is a huge win for wildlife habitat conservation as the plan will:
- Apply to 519,000 acres, or 60% of the county, and protect over 46,000 acres of vital wildlife habitat
- Raise an estimated $658 million for conservation
- Protect 18 endangered or threatened species, including the kit fox
- Balance conservation and development to be more strategic and efficient
The HCP has been a big priority of our organization for years. As a leader of Habitat Conservation Now—a coalition of county, regional, and national organizations with the common goal of supporting the HCP—Greenbelt Alliance has worked tirelessly with community leaders, residents, and government officials to get it passed. We launched a wildly successful online letter-writing campaign that garnered 190 individual responders and sent out 2,489 letters to elected officials around the county in support of the plan.
Greenbelt Alliance would like to thank all six of the governmental agencies that approved the HCP and allowed this groundbreaking policy to move forward. We would also like to thank everyone who has worked on this process over the past eight years including our allies in Habitat Conservation Now and our supporters.
This is a wonderful step in our ongoing work to protect the Bay Area’s natural landscapes and to ensure that our cities grow in a sustainable manner. However, our work is far from done. We are excited about the next steps in the process of actually implementing the HCP. In February 2013, the City of San Jose will appoint representatives to manage this process. We must stay vigilant to make sure that the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan moves forward with its purpose and vision intact.
Photo: Pat Gaines via Flickr