Funding from this project helps the community acquire and protect important habitat land to preserve local ecosystems. The project supports implementation of multi-agency agreements, such as the Valley Habitat Plan, that pool mitigation or conservation dollars to protect or restore large areas of habitat land.
Acquiring, restoring, connecting and protecting habitat areas helps native species to adapt to a changing climate. Large, contiguous land patches allow species room to move and adapt, to find cover from the damaging effects of climate change and to reestablish resting and rearing areas.
KPI #1: Provide up to $8 million per 15-year period for the acquisition or enhancement of property for the conservation of habitat lands
- Valley Water is exploring partnerships and identifying opportunities for acquisition and enhancement of habitat lands. Several properties supporting multiple species and a mosaic of habitat types, comprising over 10,000 acres, throughout Santa Clara County have been considered. One priority acquisition occurred in Quarter 2 of Fiscal Year 2024.
- On December 5, 2023, the Valley Water Board of Directors authorized the transfer of $4,000,000 of SCW Project D7 funds to the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Agency towards the acquisition of a 978-acre portion of Richmond Ranch.
- Richmond Ranch substantially meets Valley Water’s SCW Project D7 funding criteria, which ensure the prioritization of high-value habitat lands for acquisition and enhancement. Criteria include the protection or enhancement of native habitats, special-status species, and habitat linkages/movement corridors; regional coordination to create larger, more contiguous swaths of conservation lands; and mitigation of and adaptation to the effects of climate change.
- Richmond Ranch is an over 3600-acre property located in the eastern portion of unincorporated Santa Clara County (Attachment 1, Property Location). The property includes a variety of habitat types including grassland, riparian, and seasonal wetlands and supports a diverse assemblage of both common and sensitive species including Tule elk, California tiger salamander, Bay checkerspot butterfly, and Metcalf Canyon jewelflower. Richmond Ranch will be permanently protected through inclusion into the Valley Habitat Plan’s Reserve System.
- Valley Water’s contribution towards the acquisition of Richmond Ranch results in fulfillment of the 5-year Implementation Plan and significant progress toward the completion of Safe, Clean Water Project D7.
No current documents.
Key Performance Indicator (FY22-36)
Provide up to $8 million per 15-year period for the acquisition or enhancement of property for the conservation of habitat lands.
Protects, enhances and restores natural resources in Santa Clara County
Contributes to the recovery of special status species
Coordinates regional mitigation or conservation projects to create larger, less fragmented conservation lands that are more beneficial for wildlife and the environment
May fulfill a portion of Valley Water’s responsibilities to the Valley Habitat Plan
Addresses climate change
Geographic Area of Benefit
About the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program
In November 2020, voters in Santa Clara County overwhelmingly approved Measure S, a renewal of Valley Water’s Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program.
The program was first passed by voters in 2000 as the Clean, Safe Creeks and Natural Flood Protection Plan, then again in 2012 as the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program. The renewal of the Safe, Clean Water Program will continue to provide approximately $47 million annually for local projects that deliver safe, clean water, natural flood protection, and environmental stewardship to all the communities we serve in Santa Clara County.
While evaluating ways to improve the 2012 program, Valley Water gathered feedback from more than 21,000 community members. That helped Valley Water create the six priorities for the renewed Safe, Clean Water Program, which are:
Priority A: Ensure a Safe, Reliable Water Supply
Priority B: Reduce Toxins, Hazards and Contaminants in our Waterways
Priority C: Protect our Water Supply and Dams from Earthquakes and Other Natural Disasters
Priority D: Restore Wildlife Habitat and Provide Open Space
Priority E: Provide Flood Protection to Homes, Businesses, Schools, Streets and Highways
Priority F: Support Public Health and Public Safety for Our Community
Each year, Valley Water prepares a report providing a progress update for each of these program priorities, along with fiscal year accomplishments.
To ensure transparency and accountability to the voters, the ballot measure also created an Independent Monitoring Committee, appointed by the Santa Clara Valley Water District Board of Directors. The Independent Monitoring Committee annually reviews the program’s progress to ensure the outcomes are achieved in a cost-efficient manner and reports its findings to the Board. Additionally, the IMC also reviews each proposed 5-year implementation plan prior to its submittal for Board approval.
In addition, the program requires three independent audits.