Public-private partnership involving local agency secures Santa Cruz Mountains open space

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST), the Los Altos-based Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) and the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority recently purchased two properties that link more than 31,000 acres of protected lands in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The properties, located south of Almaden Reservoir, establish a permanently protected corridor between MROSD’s Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve and the Open Space Authority’s Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve. They also expand the network of open space that includes Calero and Almaden Quicksilver county parks.

Grants from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Measure AA bond funds and Peninsula Open Space Trust donors helped fund the purchases.

POST, in partnership with the Open Space Authority, purchased a 326-acre property that provides drinking water for San Jose, contains nearly all of the Barrett Creek watershed, with more than a mile of largely intact stream, and includes 60 acres of coast live oak forest.

The property will require significant cleanup and restoration prior to being opened to the public.

As part of its conservation efforts, POST will remove unused and uninhabitable structures on the property to reduce any threats to the Barrett Creek watershed. POST has entered into a license and management agreement with the Open Space Authority and is contracted to transfer the land to it within two years.

MROSD has concurrently purchased a connecting 154-acre parcel as an addition to its Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve. The property serves as a wildlife corridor connecting adjacent open space.

The budget for the project is $2.02 million – $1.57 million for the purchase and $450,000 for the cleanup operation. POST and the Open Space Authority will each contribute $560,000, with the remaining $900,000 coming from a Moore Foundation grant.

MROSD purchased its property for $2.8 million using Measure AA funds, offset by a $750,000 grant, also from the Moore Foundation.

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