Safe Passage for Wildlife in Southern Santa Clara County
The Coyote Valley Linkages Assessment Study Confirms Coyote Valley as Critical Wildlife Linkage
This study confirms that Coyote Valley provides an important land link between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range—both of which have very large areas of habitat for wildlife - through the use of wildlife cameras, computer modeling, and peer-reviewed scientific studies.*
Loss of Habitat Puts Wildlife at Risk of Local Extinction
Wildlife habitat in the Santa Clara County region has been fragmented and destroyed due to construction of roads, housing and other development. Mountain lion, bobcat, badger and coyote are at risk of becoming geographically isolated and eventually dying out. Protection of Coyote Valley as a linkage for wildlife can help prevent local extinction of these species and ensure their viability.
Species Extinction is Occurring on a Global Scale
The Center for Biological Diversity estimates that species are dying off at thousands of times the natural rate due to habitat loss, invasive plants and animals, and climate change impacts. As many as thirty to fifty percent of all species will be extinct by mid-century. The issue of disappearing wildlife habitat in Santa Clara County is a local example of a global crisis.
Conserving Local Populations is Essential for Long-term Wildlife Species Survival
The Center for Biological Diversity states that conserving local wildlife species populations is the only way to ensure the genetic diversity that enables a species’ long-term survival. This biodiversity helps ensure the resilience of ecosystems—upon which all human communities depend.
Maintaining the Land in Ways that Are Compatible with Safe Passage for Wildlife
The Coyote Valley floor is an essential travel route for many wildlife species, ranging from small to large mammals. However, a number of barriers and land uses restrict wildlife movement. With the goal of preserving and enhancing Coyote Valley as a critical wildlife linkage, the report contains the following recommendations:
- Remove barriers including fences and blocked culverts to allow safe passage for wildlife
- Maintain the habitat values and characteristics on Coyote Valley lands for compatibility with wildlife movement
- Work with the high speed rail authority to ensure that future rail alignments and crossing structures are coordinated with crossing structures on Highway 101
- Maintain agricultural land use wherever possible instead of industrial use of Coyote Valley
As a regionally significant wildlife corridor, Coyote Valley requires a land use and management plan that coordinates the efforts of conservation and resource management agencies, transportation agencies, and private land owners.
In addition, the recommendations of the Coyote Valley Linkage Assessment Study will inform state, regional and local land use planning, development projects and restoration efforts.Download the Coyote Valley Linkages Assessment Study Report here.
* Critical Linkages: Bay Area and Beyond 2013, Bay Area Critical Linkages Project, and the Santa Cruz Mountains Linkages Project