Santa Clara City Council Calls For Protection of Juristac

This Tuesday, the Santa Clara City Council unanimously adopted a resolution urging the County to deny permits for an open-pit mine at Juristac — a region sacred to the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band and a critical wildlife linkage. Please thank the City Councilmembers for passing this resolution calling for the protection of Juristac!

What’s Happening: Juristac Threatened With Open-Pit Mine

Juristac — a landscape comprising thousands of acres, including the property known today as Sargent Ranch — is located in the hills southeast of Gilroy. An open-pit sand and gravel mine called the Sargent Ranch Quarry has been proposed on 320 acres at Juristac. This mine would operate for 30 years, excavating pits hundreds of feet deep in these pristine hillsides, pumping thousands of gallons of groundwater per day, and generating hundreds of daily truck trips to transport the sand and gravel on Highway 101. The County of Santa Clara is reviewing the proposal and is expected to release the Draft Environmental Impact Report soon.

In the years since the Sargent Ranch Quarry was first proposed, opposition to the mine has been mounting, with the cities of Morgan Hill and Santa Cruz passing resolutions, and dozens of elected officials and community organizations announcing their opposition to the mine. On Tuesday, the Santa Clara City Council joined this growing list by passing a resolution urging the County to deny the permit for the mine and calling for the permanent protection of Juristac as open space.

Why It Matters: Juristac is a Sacred Indigenous Landscape and a Critical Wildlife Linkage

Juristac means “Place of the Big Head” and is the heart of the Amah Mutsun’s ancestral lands. For the Mutsun people, Juristac is the home of a spiritual being known as Kuksui. For thousands of years, the Amah Mutsun lived and held sacred ceremonies at Juristac. These ceremonies for healing and renewal honored Kuksui with Big Head dances and were often attended by neighboring tribal groups.

Juristac is also one of the top conservation priorities in the region. Due to its location at the southern tip of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Juristac is the gateway for animals to migrate out of these mountains. Together with Coyote Valley 25 miles to the north, Juristac is one of only two remaining wildlife linkages that connect wildlife populations in the Santa Cruz Mountains to habitat in the Diablo Range to the east and the Gabilan Range to the south. An open-pit mine in this location would severely impact animals’ ability to migrate to new territory to find food and mates.

What You Can Do: Please Thank the Santa Clara City Council!

Although the Santa Clara City Council does not have the authority to stop the mine, this resolution sends a powerful statement to the County that opposition to the mine is continuing to grow and that more and more local elected officials are lining up in support of the effort to protect Juristac.

Please email the Santa Clara City Council and thank them for approving the resolution calling for the protection of Juristac!

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