Protecting the unique habitats our local wildlife populations depend on has always been central to our work.

Through projects like San Vicente Redwoods, Cloverdale Coastal Ranches and Rancho San Vicente, we have protected grasslands where kites demonstrate acrobatic feats, waterways where Coho salmon make perilous journeys to spawn and redwood forests where mountain lions raise their young.

But these animals need room to roam and move freely to mate, find food and complete seasonal migrations.

Often, the connective areas used by animals are severed by man-made structures like freeways. These areas will become increasingly important in the future as the impacts of climate change require wildlife to adapt and roam more broadly across a variety of habitats.

This is why POST is focusing on the connective lands between protected areas to ensure that our investment in and impact on local wildlife is long-lasting.

One step in this effort is building wildlife crossings at Highway 17, a busy roadway where vehicles have killed over 80 animals in the past 9 years.

Working with partners such as Midpen, Caltrans, the Santa Cruz Puma Project and Pathways for Wildlife, we hope by 2020 to have a well-placed and appropriately designed crossing that allows wildlife to safely move across Highway 17, from Bear Creek Redwoods, to the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve and beyond.

Additionally, this summer we begin a 2-year study with our partners at Wilmers Lab (UC Santa Cruz) to determine how bobcat and gray fox are using Coyote Valley in the South Bay to move between the Santa Cruz and Diablo mountain ranges.

As one of the last undeveloped, flat, valley floor habitats in our region, Coyote Valley may prove to be one of the most crucial wildlife connections in the Bay Area, and one that is linked to the long-term viability and biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The more we understand where and how wildlife move through the land, the better we can protect and connect these important corridors. Photo: Teddy Miller

While both bobcat and gray fox have wide-ranging habitats, they use the valley floor differently. This study will look at how these animals interact with the landscape by providing us with a behind-the-scenes look at their lives.

These are just two of the ways in which POST is using scientific studies to understand where to apply conservation energy and resources. Stay tuned for more exciting news on this topic as it develops.

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About Post

Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. Since its founding in 1977, POST has been responsible for saving more than 87,000 acres as permanently protected land in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. Learn more

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