A version of this article appeared in Green Foothills’ Winter 2023 newsletter. The landscape of Juristac has been sacred to...
Juristac (Sargent Ranch)
The Threat: A Destructive Sand Mine on Sacred Land and Habitat
An open pit sand and gravel mine has been proposed for the property known as Juristac or Sargent Ranch — a nearly pristine landscape of rolling hillsides, sycamore riparian woodlands, serpentine grassland, freshwater wetlands, and unique natural tar seeps. Juristac is the most sacred site of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band, who have held ceremonies there for thousands of years. To learn more about the culture, history and spirituality of Juristac, please visit ProtectJuristac.org.
The sand and gravel quarry would destroy over 400 acres of habitat, literally scooping out the hillsides to create 3 open quarry pits hundreds of feet deep. About 86,000 gallons of groundwater would be pumped each day for quarry operations, and the quarry would generate hundreds of truck trips per day.
A Critical Wildlife Corridor At Risk
Juristac is a critical wildlife corridor linking the Santa Cruz Mountains to the Diablo Range to the east and the Gabilan Range to the south. Together with Coyote Valley (25 miles to the north), it’s the only viable path for animals to migrate into and out of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Environmental Impacts from Open-Pit Mine “Significant and Unavoidable”
On July 22, 2022, Santa Clara County released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Sargent Ranch Quarry project. The DEIR found 14 separate significant and unavoidable impacts from the mine, including to tribal cultural resources, wildlife movement, air quality, and aesthetics. These significant and unavoidable impacts will occur even with attempts at mitigation.
In particular, the DEIR found that there would be “permanent and irreversible alterations” to the Juristac Tribal Cultural Landscape, and that no reclamation activities could ever restore it to a condition that reflects its cultural significance. The DEIR also found that the mine, due to its location directly across a major wildlife corridor in and out of the Santa Cruz Mountains, would interfere substantially with wildlife movement, which could reduce genetic variability and make animal populations more vulnerable to local extinction.
Protect Juristac: Take Action to Oppose the Project
Please join us in the fight to protect Juristac! Use the form below to email the Santa Clara County Planning Commission to let them know you oppose the Sargent Ranch Quarry project. We’ve provided some template language, but please feel free to use your own words!
Support Juristac today!
Thank You to Those Who Make Our Work Possible
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