Can the Moore Foundation Save San Francisco’s Wetlands?

A person working in the coastal arena might pass over the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s San Francisco program as it focuses only on Land Conservation and Science/Tech Museums. This would be a mistake as the Land Conservation program also invests in wetlands, a vital part of marine ecology. In the past, the Land Conservation program has awarded grants protecting everything from redwoods to salt ponds. In 2013, the Moore Foundation (see IP's profile) is once again focusing on wetlands with a new grant for the Sonoma Land Trust.

The Moore Foundation’s latest grant will give over $350,000 to the Sonoma Land Trust for the acquisition of the 1,092 acre Haire Ranch on Skaggs Island. Starting with the ranch, the Sonoma Land Trust will begin a series of restoration projects for tidal and seasonal wetlands at the edge of San Francisco Bay. The project is expected to yield a number of benefits including flood protection, carbon sequestration, filtration of pollutants entering the Bay, restored wildlife habitat, and food and shelter for the millions of shorebirds that migrate through every winter of every year.   

This isn’t the first time the Moore Foundation has taken an interest in the Bay Area’s wetlands. However, it's been a while since the foundation has been so direct in its giving. In 2003 and 2004, the foundation became involved in the restoration of the Cargill South Bay salt ponds, giving to the Resources Legacy Fund and Pelican Media to work on the area. In 2008, the foundation gave to the University of San Francisco to measure carbon sequestration in the Bay Area’s wetlands. The foundation has also been giving to the Resources Legacy Fund to work on a variety of habitats. The Fund's Bay Area Conservation Initiative protects high-priority landscapes against a range of threats. In 2013, the Fund received two grants: one for $173,000 and another for $447,555 to support restoration in the Baylands.

Although the Moore Foundation doesn’t often award for straight-up wetlands conservation in the Bay Area, they are certainly open to it. Coastal conservationists in the Bay Area that can’t get in through the Marine Conservation Initiative might want to consider playing up their home court advantage. The Moore Foundation calls San Francisco home and as a result is committed to giving back to the Bay Area.