Santa Clara County gained 120 acres of open space preserve earlier this month, after the county’s open space authority gave final approval for the purchase.
The new preserve provides a habitat for two federally endangered species — the California tiger salamander and the California red-legged frog — creating an instrumental linkage for them between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Diablo Range.
The land, on Canada Road will expand the Santa Clara County Open Space Authority’s neighboring 702-acre site to create an 822-acre open space preserve for watershed protection, wildlife habitat and public recreation. By purchasing this land, the authority eliminated the possibility of the potential developments of three hilltop estate homes along the road. It lies within the Upper Pajaro River watershed and includes a tributary of San Ysidro Creek.
“Our timing was just right to be able to purchase these properties for open space,” said Andrea Mackenzie, general manager of the open space authority in a press release. “Protection of these properties will benefit the water quality, wildlife habitat and recreational values of the upper Pajaro River watershed.”
The 120-acres became more affordable in May, after Santa Barbara Bank and Trust acquired the land through a foreclosure and was willing to negotiate the purchase down to $810,00 – a more reasonable price than the $3 million the previous owners, of then-called Doan Ranch, were asking, according to the authority.
The California tiger salamander, endemic to California, is listed as a threatened species. Although it was once most prevalent in the Central Valley, it is now found mostly in the surrounding foothills. The tiger salamander enjoys grassland, oak savanna, and mixed woodland and coniferous forest habitats.
The California red-legged frog is endemic to California and northern Baja California and is found in ponds and humid forests, around lowlands or foothills. The red-legged frog is also a threatened species that will benefit from an open space preserve in the South Bay.
Samantha Juda is a Bay Nature editorial intern.