Greenprint Projects

Santa Clara Valley Greenprint


Rolling hills of open meadows and tree groves under blue sky.
Santa Clara Greenprint Santa Clara County is the fast-growing county in the Bay Area of California. © TNC

As the fastest growing county in the Bay Area, Santa Clara County's open spaces are under threat of continued development and sprawl from Silicon Valley. The OSA produced this greenprint as a 30-year roadmap for their planned conservation work in Santa Clara Valley, and to quickly and effectively secure support and funding for high priority conservation projects.

The Greenprint was developed through a stakeholder input process in which data layers were weighted by residents at public meetings and by survey. The result is a heatmap of conservation priorities, as well as 10 sites that the OSA has targetted as high and eminent priorities for conservation.

Year Published: 2014

State: California

Landscape Context: Coastal, Inland

Housing Density: Urban, Suburban

Funding Type: Public

Habitat Focus: Forest, Developed, Herbaceous

Organizations Involved:

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority


Water Supply, Floodplains/Flood Prevention, Open Space/Habitat, Recreation, Community Education, Climate Resilience, Viewshed, Working Land, Biodiversity

Stakeholder Involvement:

Stakeholders were involved; the project team hosted community workshops and open houses. The team also provided an online portal for public input and feedback.

Planning Process:

The Santa Clara Valley OSA compiled a Greenprint Project team, which partnered with an OSA Citizens Advisory Committee as well as technical advisors in the field. Conservation goals, strategies, and guiding principles were identified and weighted based on stakeholder interview and relevant studies. The technical advisors helped to compile data and map these conservation priorities using GIS tools, the results of which were presented at public meetings. The project team also developed implementation partnerships and strategies for improving conservation and open space protection within the study area.

Desired Outcomes:

Create an interconnected system of wildlands and habitats to ensure climate resilience, protect and restore water resources, preserve agricultural lands and their viability, create a network of open space lands that enhance recreation and natural education of residents, and discover new funding sources for the steps necessary to achieve these goals. The project also aimed to align with and influence Plan Bay Area, the regional transportation plan for the Bay Area.

What It Accomplished:

In addition to a heat map of areas with high conservation value, the Greenprint also lists ten open spaces (Conservation Focus Areas) where the OSA will focus its efforts and funding in the coming decades through land acquisition and stewardship.    Williamson Act state subvention is decreasing, the working land easements/tax breaks are now supported by Santa Clara County. Looking forward, the OSA aims to identify new funding sources, and specifically highlights the possibility of PES (Payment for Ecosystem Services) programs for the Valley.

Additional Information and Reports