Bobcat laying on tree branch looking at the camera


Protecting the Natural Communities of Santa Clara Valley

The Open Space Authority works to preserve local wildlife and restore habitat by removing invasive plant species, using conservation grazing techniques, restoring ponds, streams, and meadows, and monitoring the areas carefully. Protecting wildlife goes hand-in-hand with preservation of their diverse habitats.

Why Do We Need to Protect Wildlife?

Coyote howling on grassy hillside with rocks and oak woodland in background

Increasing urbanization led to the destruction of many natural habitats that once supported wildlife communities, threatening their livelihood and long-term survival. 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. Because of this, the Santa Clara County is a local example of a global crisis.

The construction of roads, housing, and other developments in the Santa Clara County has fragmented and destroyed much of the natural wildlife habitat, resulting in the threat to species such as the mountain lion, badger, California tiger salamander, and Bay checkerspot butterfly. It is important to protect local wildlife populations to ensure a healthy diversity of species for the long-term.

Lichen-covered rocks on ridge overlooking Coyote Valley with agricultural fields and the mountains in the distance

The Coyote Valley floor is an essential travel route for many wildlife species, ranging from small to large mammals. In 2016, the Coyote Valley Linkages Assessment Study confirmed this important linkage through computer modeling, peer-reviewed scientific studies, and use of wildlife cameras. This study recommends removal of barriers to better facilitate wildlife movement and improve wildlife corridors. In 2017, the Authority released the Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage, a report outlining the vision for a land linkage in Coyote Valley. For further information download the reports:

Coyote Valley Wildlife Linkages Assessment Study Report
Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage Report

Reducing Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in Coyote Valley Report


The Open Space Authority works to keep our diverse ecosystems intact, protect the resident species, and preserve adequate population numbers in order to promote genetic diversity. 


These goals are accomplished through:

  1. Maintaining wildlife linkages, like the Coyote Valley, to ensure safe passage for wildlife between mountain ranges.
  2. Protecting animals and their habitat that have been stated rare or endangered by the state or the U.S. government.
  3. Restoring landscapes that are important for wildlife and native plants.
  4. Protecting aquatic habitat such as streams, springs, and ponds, which will become even more important for wildlife as the climate becomes hotter and dryer from climate change.
  5. Supporting research projects on Authority properties that enhance knowledge and management for biodiversity.
Read more about our work on our blog.