The 2,600 acres of mostly-natural Bayside habitat visible north of Highway 237 is undergoing a massive planning process that could both help and harm the environment. This area contains the massive wastewater treatment plant serving
San Jose, Santa Clara, , and neighboring cities, and the aging plant must undergo major upgrades. New technologies open up possibilities for restoring natural habitats but also make unnecessary sprawl possible in buffer lands. Please submit comments by January 30 telling the planners to stop excluding from consideration an Environmental Alternative that keeps the land in its current use of wastewater treatment and natural habitat without unnecessary, unrelated development! Milpitas
Why this is important
This is one of the largest, if not the largest, Bayside habitat areas in the
that is not permanently protected. Originally the treatment plant needed unoccupied buffer lands because of odors and because of the need for sewage settling ponds. The uplands of the property function as one of the last strongholds of our diminishing burrowing owl populations, while lowlands are wetlands and former sewage pond buffer lands which offer the extremely rare chance to restore natural habitats. South Bay
New, closed-building sewage treatment systems eliminate the need for settling ponds and may reduce odors that previously required bufferlands north of Highway 237. Developers see the possibility of using publicly-owned land for commercial developments, city governments see potential revenues from the developments, but the public can see the possibility of protecting the crucial habitat and getting a tiny fraction back of all that has been lost.
What you can do
The planning process has focused on variations of future plans for the 2,600 acre property, all of them with some valuable environmental components, but all of them also including commercial development. Committee for Green Foothills and a broad coalition other environmental organizations have been saying for months that the process must include at least one Environmental Alternative that stays with the original uses of the area - water treatment and natural habitat, with only low-impact recreational uses included that do not fundamentally affect the property.
Comments are being accepted at the main website for the planning process:
Please comment by January 30, telling them to stop excluding the Environmental Alternative proposed by environmental groups, and to allow the public consideration of this one alternative that best preserves the environment by excluding unnecessary development that is unrelated to water treatment, leaving the remainder the land as natural and restored habitat.
Submit your comments here: http://www.rebuildtheplant.org/go/doc/1823/988947/Draft-Recommended-Alternative-Jan-2011
For more information on the Environmental Alternative, read our letter here: http://greenfoothills.blogspot.com/2011/01/cgf-coalition-letter-on-environmental.html
More information on the plant is here: http://www.rebuildtheplant.org/