Midpen and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) have performed an environmental review of the project in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The environmental review examines the nature and extent of any potential adverse effects on the environment that could occur if the project is implemented. Based on the review, Midpen and Caltrans have prepared a joint Initial Study (IS) with Proposed Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND)/Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed project. An MND is a statement by Midpen that the project will not have a significant effect on the environment because the project will include mitigation measures that will reduce identified project impacts to a less than significant level. The Notice of Intent and complete information regarding this project is available at openspace.org/public-notices.
Public comments regarding the correctness, completeness, or adequacy of this Draft IS-MND/EA are invited and must be received before the end of the public review period. The public comment period is February 20, 2024 – March 22, 2024. Please send comments on the Draft ISMND/EA via e-mail to Hwy17@openspace.org or to the following address: 5050 El Camino Real, Los Altos, CA 94022 (with attention to Jared Hart).
A virtual public meeting will be held via Zoom on Thursday, March 7, 2024 at 6 p.m. for community members to provide public comments on the Draft IS-MND/EA. Meeting details will be provided on this page on Wednesday, March 6, 2024.
Highways connect us, but also divide the land and create barriers to safe passage for both wildlife and people. In the Santa Cruz Mountains, California state route 17 (Highway 17) fragments thousands of acres of open space, limiting the ability of wildlife to find food, mates and habitat, as well as preventing the completion of several regional trail systems. Together with private and public partners, neighbors and District constituents, Midpen is exploring the feasibility of developing two independent road crossings - a wildlife undercrossing and recreational trail overcrossing - to link over 30,000 acres of protected public lands.
The project also includes directional fencing that will help animals safely find their way to the wildlife crossing and a number of regional trail connections that will link the following Santa Clara County parks and Midpen open space preserves together across Highway 17: Sanborn County Park, El Sereno Preserve, Lexington Reservoir County Park, St. Joseph's Hill Preserve, Sierra Azul Preserve and Almaden Quicksilver County Park.