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Why Do We Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful?

Coyote Creek, which is actually a river, is 64 miles long that connects Coyote Valley to San Francisco Bay. It runs entirely though the South Bay and is the largest watershed in the region.

Coyote Creek used to be a great source for the wildlife. The greenery was lush and oxygen-rich; steelhead trout, turtles, badgers, and Chinook salmon traveled through the waters, barrier-free; and a heaven for native species to grow or reproduce.

If you're a South Bay native, you are probably aware that this is no longer the Coyote Creek that we see today.

The modern-day Coyote Creek is a thin stream of murky water in the urban area with trash piling into its natural dip. The ribbon of water, which used to be surrounded by beautiful oak and thriving native grasses, is now surrounded by the result of urban development. Homes, freeways, and all other cityscapes have encroached on the beautiful river with little opportunity for it to thrive again.

And yet, within a city of just over 1 million people, you can still expect to find individuals that care about seeing native habitat thrive again despite the long odds.

It started as small and simple cleanups. After seeing the aftermath of the growing unhoused

Deb Kramer, founder and executive director for Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful.

population and the effects of it, Deb Kramer decided that she must do something to save the 64-mile river.

Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful was founded by Kramer in 2015. It used to be a one-person band, then it expanded to a staff of two, and has now expanded to be an official nonprofit organization with four staff members and a board of six dedicated individuals of different backgrounds all working towards the same goal of a vibrant Coyote Creek for all.

To encourage others to join the merry band, we have a three-pronged approach to engagement:

  1. Action: We host creek and trail cleanups, write letters to support a healthy creek and environment, and collaborate with other environmental groups on important issues.

  2. Education: We offer a multitude of offerings for grade schools, college, and the public, including our very popular BioBlitz events, nature walks, and our first mural at Empire Gardens Elementary School.

  3. Recreation: Our recreation activities include biking, nature walks, hiking and backpacking with the goal of connecting people with nature.

But of course, we can't do this alone and have many partners, from our grantors who fund our programs to other community groups who are instrumental in the success of these endeavors. Examples include, Grassroots Ecology, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, and the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory. We're grateful for continued funding from the City of San Jose, the Open Space Authority, California Coastal Commission, and others.

In order to really make a difference towards a healthy creek, we are inspired by our volunteers who continue to return to our events. We have Action Team leaders like Karan Gathani, who shares his love of nature by taking groups into the creek for cleanups. Our BioBlitz docents like Sara Witt and Bob Siegel, who share their excitement about water bugs and fungus with kids and adults alike. Nature lovers Alie and Bruce Victorine, who offer guided nature walks at Hellyer County Park during the winter to share the diverse ecosystem there.

133 cleanups, 259.29 tons of trash picked up, and 7,834 volunteers later, KCCB is still standing strong-- but we couldn't do it without the help of those who care.

To those who have picked up just a single soda can, have dedicated even just a minute, or just a dollar: Thank you.

Please help us continue on with our mission of developing a more healthy and vibrant Coyote Creek by considering donating.


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