Yellow mushrooms and yellow-brown leaves on dark brown logs


Biodiversity is Essential for a Healthy Natural Environment

Biodiversity refers to the wide variety of life forms that exist on our planet. Ecosystems include physical, biological, and chemical connections that support life on Earth and the complex web of organisms that depend on each other. Biodiversity within ecosystems is critical for their wellbeing as all species play a unique role in supporting them. The more biodiversity there is in an ecosystem, the more opportunities there are for productivity, risk management, and even evolution.   


Over the past half century, we've seen a greater loss in biodiversity than ever before, mostly due to habitat destruction. Despite the many federal and state laws to protect endangered species and to set aside land for parks and open space preserves, we are witnessing a permanent loss of our natural heritage and information that could be key to unknown medical and scientific breakthroughs.

Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan

The Valley Habitat Plan conservation strategy, administered by the Valley Habitat Agency, calls for the protection of nearly 34,000 acres of new open space lands over the next 40 years. As a participating special entity, the Open Space Authority helped create the Valley Habitat Plan, and plays a key role in the protection, restoration, and management of the resulting reserve system.
The Valley Habitat Plan will benefit many species, including the famous Bay Checkerspot butterfly, which can be considered a poster child for serpentine grasslands. Once widespread on the San Francisco Peninsula, the threatened butterfly now hangs on at Coyote Ridge, where its protection will also benefit the many other species native to this landscape.

Silhouette of deer buck with antlers walking amidst misty landscape
Man with owl on arm teaching children at wildlife festival
Blonde woman in Open Space Authority sweatshirt looking through microscope in field of wildflowers

Our Approach

The Open Space Authority protects and manages an interconnected system of wildlands and natural areas to support native habitats and species and to ensure their long-term viability in response to a changing environment. 

Learn more about biodiversity and wildlands in natural areas in the Santa Clara Valley Greenprint.

Biodiversity and Wildlands
The Authority is also working on implementing the Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage, focusing on connecting land between the Diablo and Santa Cruz Mountain Ranges.

Strategies include:

  1. Focus land conservation efforts on the protection, restoration, and enhancement of habitat for rare, threatened, and endangered species.
  2. Ensure the long-term viability and stewardship of waterways, wetlands, and ponds.
  3. Protect and maintain connections between large open space parcels to provide large habitat blocks, ensure critical linkages, and provide climate resilience.
  4. Provide leadership and resources for land stewardship to promote native species and habitats.
  5. Expand outreach and education programs to increase community awareness of the importance of wildlands and natural resources.
Western Pond Turtle basking on sunny rock above creek
Close-up of hand holding orange newt
Clear pond reflecting blue skies and clouds, surrounded by reeds and trees