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Coyote Creek Parkway Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan & Master Plan (Integrated Plan)

Published on: 10/24/2013 9:55 AM
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Coyote Creek WatershedOn March 20, 2007 the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors  approved the Integrated Master Plan for Coyote Creek Parkway County Park.  The action that the Board of Supervisors took will allow implementation of priority projects to begin.  A copy of the Integrated Plan and Mitigated Negative Declaration are available for public review on this website.

What the Integrated Master Plan Does:

  • Defines a new vision for Coyote Creek Parkway consistent with current County and Department policies
  • Identifies short range and long term goals for implementation of the vision
  • Identifies areas suitable for new recreational opportunities and how they can be integrated into a riparian-based park.
  • Identifies possible expansion and acquisition opportunities for the Parkway
  • Addresses expanding urbanization in the Coyote Valley and develops strategies to interface with City of San Jose and Morgan Hill planned development projects.
  • Assesses potential long-range operations costs associated with implementation of Master Plan recommendations and options for funding opportunities.


PROJECT BACKGROUND

The Coyote Creek Watershed is one of the largest watersheds in Santa Clara County and contains the County’s longest river.  From its origins in the Diablo Range mountains, Coyote Creek is over 42 miles long, with a watershed that drains over 320 square miles.  Almost 16 miles of this river are contained in the Coyote Creek Parkway, a 2,200 hundred acre County Park, starting at the base of Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill and running north to Hellyer County Park in San Jose.

Historically, land along the Parkway was used as orchards, truck farms, flower nurseries, and other family owned agricultural enterprises, much like the rest of the County.  Sections of the creek were extensively quarried for gravel and never reclaimed.  Before the creation of various flood control projects in the 1950s, sizable steelhead and salmon runs still migrated upstream to spawn in the Creek and its many tributaries.

In the 1960’s, Highway 101 was extended through southern Santa Clara County, and more urbanized uses mingled with traditional agricultural.  Both the City and the County began acquiring lands adjacent to Coyote Creek for a park.  In preparation for a jointly sponsored master plan, the City and County approved the “Coyote River Policy Statement ” in 1969.  The policy envisioned a regional Coyote River Park for 18 miles from Williams Street in San Jose to Anderson Dam in Morgan Hill

“…where the continuity of riding, hiking, and bicycle trails through the park would be assured, park design would be coordinated with the Santa Clara County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, and that all outdoor recreation would be compatible with the natural resources of the area.” Coyote River Policy Statement, 1969.


THE EARLY PLAN FOR COYOTE CREEK PARKWAY

In 1972, a Coyote Creek Park Master Plan was completed as a joint project between the City of San Jose and the County.  This was a major milestone. It formalized a long-range vision for Coyote Creek as both a natural and recreational corridor to be maintained and enhanced.  Since then, both agencies have implemented the plan as resources allowed.  Today, a county maintained and paved multi-use trail exists for the entire length between Cochrane Road and Hellyer Park.  The trail links up with the City trail at Yerba Buena Avenue and continues north to Williams Street Park.

Other recreational uses are available in the County’s Coyote Creek Parkway.  These include Parkway Lakes “pay-to-fish” operation, RC Aircraft Field for remote control model airplane enthusiasts, Coyote Ranch lease operation for group and corporate picnics, and San Jose Water Ski Club’s use of percolation ponds at Metcalf Avenue.  Two large group picnic areas and various individual picnic sites are located near the base of Anderson Dam and one near Hellyer Park.  While Santa Clara Valley Water District manages water flow in the Creek, lands adjacent to the Creek are managed by County Parks to preserve the riparian corridor, provide habitat, and maintain a sense of valley open space no longer common in Santa Clara County.


NEED FOR A NEW COYOTE CREEK PARKWAY MASTER PLAN

In 2003, the Parks Department completed a department-wide Strategic Plan, calling for integrated recreation and resource management planning for all County Parks.  An updated master plan for Coyote Creek Parkway is needed to incorporate the vision and goals of the Strategic Plan and respond to the changes along the Parkway.  Many of these challenges include:

  • Need for a resources management plan to preserve and enhance natural resources within the Parkway
  • Need for a systematic approach to public/private lands interface along the Parkway perimeter as the rural lands that once served as buffers have almost completely disappeared and new suburban uses are planned
  • Need to meet increasing demand for basic recreation, including multi-use trails, large group picnic areas, and sites for unique recreational uses.
  • Need to coordinate with changes in Santa Clara Valley Water District practices for water distribution and management of stream flow in Coyote Creek,
  • Need to coordinate with Federal and State agencies efforts to develop recovery plans for threatened and endangered species occurring in the riparian corridor
  • Details natural resource inventory and understanding of the biotic communities in the park.
  • Details Management strategies to enhance natural resources, protect and enhance habitat for sensitive species, and be compatible with recommendations for recreation.
  • Identifies of possible beneficial partnerships with regulatory agencies and other groups to implement common natural resource management and open space objectives.

For more information about this project, please contact:
Elish Ryan, Park Planner
elish.ryan@prk.sccgov.org
(408) 355-2236

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