AB 948 would create a new Coyote Valley Conservation Program, to be administered by the Santa Clara Open Space Authority. The bill would expand the existing protected area from 7,400 acres to 17,000 acres, and boost new efforts to preserve its resources. Coyote Valley, which drains the ecologically rich upper watershed of Coyote Creek, has long faced development threats as surrounding South Bay communities expand. The area provides critical habitat for critters large and small, which use the valley—especially its waterways—to move between more remote areas in the two mountain ranges. The Valley also includes 2,500 acres of floodplains and sits atop half of Silicon Valley’s undeveloped aquifer recharge areas, making its protection even more important. “Coyote Valley’s very shallow aquifer makes it extremely vulnerable to contamination from development,” says the Open Space Authority’s Alisha Manglia. The proposed bill would encourage the Authority to leverage existing bond funding for wildlife, water resources, agriculture and recreational programs, and to expand existing partnerships with local governments, Valley Water (formerly the Santa Clara Valley Water District) and others.