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March 17, 2010 > Grants help make Santa Clara County more beautiful and accessible one trail at a time

Grants help make Santa Clara County more beautiful and accessible one trail at a time

Submitted By Richard Santos, SCVWD

In November 2000, Santa Clara County voters passed the Santa Clara Valley Water District's Clean, Safe Creeks & Natural Flood Protection Plan (Plan). This year is the eighth year of the 15-year program. One of the major outcomes promised by the plan, Outcome 4 was for the water district to provide trails, parks and open space along our waterways.

Specifically, Outcome 4 addresses the following:

Partnerships to provide public access to 70 miles of open space and/or trails along creeks.
Increase community recreational opportunities.
Increased number of bicycle paths for alternative transportation.
Opportunities for open space, trails and parks incorporated into flood protection projects.

Watersheds, stream corridors and flood protection levees offer hundreds of acres of land for the community's use and enjoyment. The water district partners with the county's cities to provide open space and recreational opportunities along creeks, as well as many of its 10 reservoirs in the county.

Since 2000, more than 65 miles of creekside trails have been constructed along Coyote, San Tomas Aquino, Berryessa, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Calabazas, Penitencia, Thompson, Stevens, Uvas and Llagas creeks and the Guadalupe River. Another five miles or more are expected to be added over the next six years.

The Trail and Open Space Grant Program implements the Outcome 4 goals. This year's grant program is the third grant round to use special tax funds for the development of access to trails and open space and to increase public access to, and enjoyment of, public areas for increased recreational opportunities.

The water district also offers an Environmental Enhancement Planning Grant to allow for the creation of additional wetlands, riparian habitat and favorable streams conditions for fisheries and wildlife. This grant will help implement another of the Plan's outcomes.

A Request for Proposals for each grant was released on December 15, 2009. The deadline for grant applications was extended from March 1 to March 15.

The water district anticipated that the cities of Gilroy, Los Altos Hills, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, San Jose, Santa Clara, Saratoga/West Valley College and Sunnyvale would apply for the 2010 Trail and Open Space Grant.

The cities of Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga/West Valley College and Sunnyvale were expected to apply for the 2010 Environmental Enhancement Planning Grant.

An internal review team will rank proposals utilizing Board-approved evaluation criteria. This information will be provided to the Environmental Advisory Committee which will also review the information and provide a recommendation to the Board. A list of ranked proposals will be recommended to the Board in June 2010 for approval of funding. Completion of grant selection by the end of the fiscal year will allow grantees to begin work in July.

For more information about the grants, visit or contact Brian Mendenhall, Project Manager, at (408) 265-2607 x3093 or

Director Richard Santos is available for questions or comments as District 3 representative for Sunnyvale; Alviso; Milpitas; and the Berryessa/Alum Rock communities, east of Highway 101 to the Evergreen community area. He can be contacted at (408) 234-7707.

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