Nature Takes Its Course to Heal Coyote Creek
By Deb Kramer
Every now and then, nature surprises me. I went for a backpacking trip this past 4th of July weekend in the Sierras, and we had warm humid weather (odd for the typically dry Sierra Summer), lots of thunder and lightening storms (for three days) and hail (very unusual during summer). Then, our hike out was an absolutely picture perfect blue sky day with amazing vistas and fresh air. All in just four days. So, yes, nature surprises me.
Another way nature has surprised me is with the regeneration of Coyote Creek in the former “Jungle” area at Story Road and Senter Road, which is now re-named Coyote Meadows. A recent SJ Mercury News article by Mark Emmons featuried our intrepid San Jose Watershed Rangers, and included before and after photos by Karl Mondon of the site. There is still work to be done (homeless people still try to re-encamp, bringing couches and mattresses with them) by removing remaining trash and ultimately revegetating the area.
The downside to moving people out of this one area is that now, homeless people have spread to other creeks and onto the streets, causing consternation by neighbors and other people working to restore the creeks. The good news is that the latest San Jose Homeless Census is that the number of homeless people has decreased by 15% since the last survey. However, as the cost of living in this area is a barrier to housing, unfortunately, we do not have short-term solutions. But, efforts are underway to provide permanent housing for those that want it.
In the meantime, Coyote Commons continues to be reborn. The birds are in the trees that are filled with leaves. The ducks are swimming in the water. The hillside was green during the spring. Yes, nature finds a way to heal itself. All it needs is a little head start.
That is where you come in! Please continue to volunteer at our creek cleanups along all the creeks in the South Bay and beyond. As we become stewards of these wetlands, we help them little by little, through trash removal, re-landscaping, and monitoring, to help nature find a way to survive. Our fish will return. The raptors will fly high. The native plants will repopulate.