The Authority has kicked off the planning and design process for expanded public access to our Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve. This will offer the chance for visitors to catch a rare glimpse of a largely undisturbed serpentine grassland setting. The Authority has protected over 1,800 acres at Coyote Ridge with funding from several conservation partners and co-manages the preserve with the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency in order to protect habitat for rare plants and animals in Santa Clara County. The preserve, located just 10 miles from downtown San Jose, offers rare opportunities for guided recreational access and environmental education that will allow visitors to experience, enjoy, and learn about this unique landscape.
Once the project is complete, public access at the preserve will include a parking and gathering area accessible by Malech Road, a sustainable trail network, and a staging area with restrooms, trailhead, and interpretive features and signage. Visitors will be able to climb nearly 1,400 feet in elevation through grasslands up to the ridgeline for sweeping views of Santa Clara Valley and spring wildflower displays. Access to the ridgeline will complete a nearly 3-mile segment of the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The goals of this project are to protect rare habitat and sensitive species while providing a high-quality experience through our Open Access Weekend events and docent-led programs. A partnership with the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council
will also provide additional guided access to the preserve.
This project is funded by the Authority's Measure Q
, a generous $400,000 grant from the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation, and a $400,000 grant from the Priority Conservation Area (PCA) Grant Program.
PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL COMPLIANCE UNDER CALIFORNIA ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY ACT
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires public agencies to consider the environmental consequences of their discretionary actions. CEQA is intended to inform government decisionmakers and the public about the potential environmental effects of proposed activities and to prevent significant, avoidable environmental damage. Please see the State of California Office of Planning and Research website
for more information and resources about CEQA. The Authority has now completed the CEQA documents for this project (see below for public comment details).
Over 1,800 acres of Coyote Ridge Open Space Preserve are enrolled in the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency’s Reserve System. The Reserve System was created under the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Conservation Plan/Natural Communities Conservation Plan (Habitat Plan) to protect critical habitat in our region. The CEQA analysis for the public access improvements on the portion of the preserve enrolled in the Reserve System is evaluated (tiered) under the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) that was developed for the Habitat Plan in 2012. Since the proposed actions on the preserve were identified in the Habitat Plan EIR, the Authority drafted an EIR Addendum/Checklist for the portion of the project that is on enrolled lands, using the Habitat Plan EIR as a basis to analyze project impacts. The proposed project improvements located on the Malech Road site are on a portion of the preserve not enrolled in the Reserve System. For this, the Authority drafted an Initial Study and pursuant to the analysis therein, is recommending a Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND)to our Board of Directors for their approval, following the completion of the public comment process.
Please find CEQA documentation for the preserve proposed project improvements in the Project Documents section below.