Photo: Pat Gaines via flickr

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

Our Impact

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.

What’s Next

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.

Read more about our history with the Habitat Conservation Plan here and here. Visit the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency website for full details of the plan and final documentation.

Photo: Pat Gaines via Flickr

5 Comments on “Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan Adopted

  1. I’m glad to hear this was passed, but I question how this measure can
    “Raise an estimated $658 million for conservation”

    • Complete funding is built into the Plan through its development fees. 55% percent of the budget will come from land cover fees that will be charged to developers for applicable private projects and Cities and the County building applicable capitol projects. These land cover fees are known up front in Plan, and in comparison to the permitting process prior to the Plan’s adoption, these projects will have automatic coverage, development certainty, and will avoid time and expense of securing regulatory approval. Non-fee funding (45%) will be achieved through land dedication, land in-lieu fees and specialized impacts such as wetlands and temporary impact fees. In addition, no City or County will have to use general funds or pay money for the Plan’s management or implementation.

  2. As long as the economy does well enough to support development with the additional fees, it will be funded. If the additional fees slow development and econmuc growth too much, this could end up being a major no growth measure. Even for california’s robust economy $658 million is a lot; I hope the Santa Clara valley can shoulder the burden. If it does, it will be a wonderfully designed plan.

  3. I am new to Greenbaeck Alliance and was very happy to hear about the above. But I would like to receive a map showing the areas covered

    So is that possible.

    Thank you

    Gaile Itami

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