Midpen is partnering with Santa Clara County and several other agencies to investigate feasibility, prepare an Alternatives Analysis and preliminary designs, and perform associated environmental and engineering services to improve wildlife connectivity primarily for California newts across Alma Bridge Road near Lexington Reservoir.
In October 2023, the Midpen board approved advancing two viable solutions identified in the Alternatives Analysis and Basis of Design Report. Both involve elevated sections of roadway coupled with wildlife passages under the road. The project team is now beginning to design and further evaluate the two options by conducting environmental studies required under California law.
A study completed in 2021 estimates that, of the nearly 14,000 adult California newts that attempted to cross the road during the rainy season in 2020-21 from their dry-season upland foraging habitat to their rainy-season breeding grounds during the survey period, almost 40% were killed by vehicle collisions. The California newt (Taricha torosa) and rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa), closely related species, are both present in the Los Gatos Creek watershed.