A primary goal of the Open Space Authority is preserving undeveloped lands and protecting their natural resources. Open land provides a balance for the noise and hurry of the city. It’s regarded as a key factor in the region’s quality of life.
Buying land, restoring habitats and nurturing natural communities are ways OSA safeguards the environment people enjoy. Open areas of the valley floor, hillsides, watersheds, baylands, creeks, and scenic views are preservation priorities.
Purchasing property is the chief means OSA uses to preserve land with important conservation attributes. When buying the title to a parcel isn’t possible, obtaining an easement to restrict development that would degrade the land’s conservation, scenic or agricultural value is an alternative.
Since acquiring its first parcel in 1999, OSA has achieved a variety of open space goals:
• Grassy slopes in the east foothills are visible from many parts of San Jose.
• Natural habitats in the Santa Cruz Mountains are a haven for wildlife.
• Ranch lands in the southern foothills and prime farm lands on the valley floor maintain the county’s agriculture.
Open Space Authority lands are teeming with plant and animal life. Providing ecologically sound care for these natural communities requires many tactics such as protecting waterways and removing invasive plants. Preserving cultural artifacts, supporting agriculture and ranching, and providing public access are other important parts of managing rural lands.
Land managers deal every day with issues like invasive plants, wildlife migration and urban-wildland interface fires that cross borders and boundaries. This is one reason OSA works with partners as a way of managing its lands effectively. In addition, the high cost of property in Santa Clara County often requires pooling resources to acquire title to a property or secure an easement. OSA works cooperatively with ranchers, landowners, government agencies, special districts, and nonprofits.