In September and October, the six partners to the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan voted to continue funding the planning process, allowing progress to continue toward permanent protection of vital lands in the South Bay. Earlier this year, concerns raised by partners about the size of the draft plan led to the creation of a framework for modification. Modifying the plan requires extending the planning process and hence the need for the partners to pony up the funds.
The Habitat Plan is a long-range conservation strategy to enhance ecological diversity and habitat in about two-thirds of South Santa Clara County. The plan includes the protection of 19 endangered and threatened species and will eventually lead to the permanent protection of 45,000 acres of habitat and working landscapes through a combination of easements and acquisition.
Greenbelt Alliance along with our allies in Habitat Conservation Now worked hard throughout the summer and into the fall to demonstrate widespread support for the plan. We also worked closely with the regulatory agencies to ensure that modifications to plan would not put the biological goals at risk.
Looking forward, over the next several months plan consultants will make the changes outlined in the framework. We anticipate the revised plan to return to the partners for a final vote before next summer. Assuming that the revised plan reflects only the changes proposed in the framework, Greenbelt Alliance will work to ensure adoption of what promises to be the most forward thinking, well-planned habitat conservation plan in California.