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History of Coyote Creek

In 1869, Coyote Creek meandered through the growing town of San Jose, with smoke stacks billowing and houses springing up. And, the creek was a broad expanse flowing through a mostly rural tree lined landscape and included a flood plain for seasonal rains. To learn more about the historical ecology of Coyote Creek, read the Coyote Creek Watershed Historical Ecology Study Executive Summary, commissioned by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

The beauty of Coyote Creek can only be experienced while out along the creek. By foot, bike, or even kayak, you can see the turtles, fish, egrets, and greenery that surround and live in the creek. Mammals and birds stop by to drink from the creek. Plants, both native and invasive, provide ample cover in many sections for fish and other wildlife as they move throughout the corridor.


Some of the most notable and special creatures still living in the creek are the steelhead trout and chinook salmon, whose historical migration was from the Bay up the Coyote Creek to spawn. As an indicator species, the steelhead trout are on the Endangered Species list. However, many barriers to their continued existence are plentiful, including Anderson Dam, flood protection barriers, pollution, and poor and inconsistent water supplies.


Now it’s a narrow ribbon of a very confined stream with most of its wild meanders straightened out of it and surrounded by homes and businesses and freeways. Fish barriers, including metal culverts that are several feet above the water make it nearly impossible for the fish to migrate to their spawning grounds.

Learn more about Coyote Creek’s diverse ecosystem

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