This Computing Legend Is Preserving Bay Area Open Space One Acre at a Time

He might be best known for his Silicon Valley innovations, but will Intel cofounder Gordon Moore's legacy include old-growth redwoods?

In January, Save the Redwoods League met half of its fundraising goal for two forest preservation projects thanks to a donation from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. It was just another example of the foundation's commitment to conservation in the Bay Area. (See Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation: Bay Area Grants.)

In fact, since the Moore Foundation was founded in 2001, 72,000 acres of Bay Area open space — or an area more than twice the size of the city and county of San Francisco — have been protected, thanks to funding from the organization. And more than $120 million has been provided to support conservation and preservation of biodiversity in the region.

The need for conservation in the Bay Area is important as more and more open space disappears or becomes threatened by development. According to the Moore Foundation, 400,000 acres of open space in the region could be affected during the next 30 years. Fortunately, the foundation is working to counteract biodiversity loss.

Throughout the Bay Area, it's easy to see and visit outdoor spaces where the Moore Foundation has helped out.

Just last year, with funding from the foundation and other sources, the East Bay Regional Park District was able to secure the 1,376-acre Robertson Ranch in unincorporated Alameda County. The acquisition will help protect one of the East Bay's largest watersheds, Alameda Creek, and provide a habitat for several Bay Area species. These causes tap into two of the foundation's key commitments — watershed protection and biodiversity preservation. (Read Moore Foundation Bay Area Program Director Kenneth Moore's IP profile.)

Other founding projects include the protection of wildlife corridors in Sonoma County, efforts to protect the coast's wetlands and marshes, and, of course, that redwood preservation project.

The Moore Foundation has always been a major player in the region's philanthropic conservation efforts, but in 2011, it partnered with several environmental groups in the region to form the Living Landscape Initiative. The foundation's $15 million grant over three years is being used by the initiative's five member organizations — the Nature Conservancy, Save the Redwoods League, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County, Peninsula Open Space Trust, and Sempervirens Fund — to leverage public and private fundraising.

And it's making a difference.

A $1.25 million grant for the Save the Redwoods project came from the Living Landscape fund. Using that donation to encourage fundraising efforts, the group is now more than halfway to its $8 million fundraising goal.