Many of us think of the flatland stretch between Hayward and San Jose as mall-and-sprawl wasteland, but actually, some valuable open spaces still exist. Bordering Coyote Hills Regional Park, 429-acre Patterson Ranch in northern Fremont is being considered for rezoning to high-density residential use. These diked baylands east of Coyote Hills support the largest remaining willow groves in the ecosystem; the riparian corridor of Patterson Creek; and a permanent freshwater pond. Biologists have observed gray fox, deer, and 170 bird species here. The Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals report, compiled in 1999 by scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Regional Water Quality Control Board, recommends protection and enhancement for the existing willow groves and seasonal wetlands. Residents from Fremont, Newark, and Union City have come together as the Friends of Coyote Hills & Fremont (FCHF) to help protect this precious open space habitat by educating the public about the importance of preserving it. For more information, call (510) 794-0847 or visit www.fchf.org.
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