Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Contributes $6 Million to Sonoma Land Trust
August 27, 2009 — Sonoma Land Trust (www.sonomalandtrust.org) has launched an $18 million campaign to protect and connect remaining large, at-risk open spaces within Sonoma County. The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (www.moore.org), the world's largest foundation focused on environmental conservation, has contributed the lead gift of $6 million to Redwoods to the Bay: Saving Sonoma County's Signature Landscapes. This initiative will help keep Sonoma County's stunning landscapes intact, develop a network of protected lands, preserve the county's rural character, enhance recreational opportunities, and create a legacy of open lands for future generations to enjoy.
"Sonoma Land Trust has a proven track record of collaboration that allows them to leverage local dollars and bring in additional funding for land conservation," says Gary Knoblock, program officer, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. "For this reason, the Foundation wanted to be involved because we have confidence that this campaign will successfully ensure the acquisition and stewardship of the Jenner Headlands and other large tracts of land throughout the county."
Substantial public funding was expected to be available for land protection thanks to the 2006 passage of California's Proposition 84 and Sonoma County's reauthorization of its Open Space District, but economic conditions have changed. As a non-governmental agency, Sonoma Land Trust is capable of responding quickly to market opportunities and proactively pursuing targeted properties given sufficient private support.
"This is no time to pull back," says Ralph Benson, executive director, Sonoma Land Trust. "Redwoods to the Bay will enable us to continue and even ramp up our efforts to protect the landscapes we love that define Sonoma County."
Only 15 percent of Sonoma County is permanently protected, compared to 59 percent of Marin and 38 percent of San Mateo Counties. By 2040, Sonoma County's population is expected to rise from 450,000 to 700,000 and the impacts of climate change are unknown. A prudent course of action is to protect land, letting open spaces perform their ecological services and provide species with a buffer to adapt to the changing environment.
About Sonoma Land Trust
Sonoma Land Trust preserves scenic, natural, agricultural and open land for future generations. Since 1976, Sonoma Land Trust has protected nearly 20,000 acres of beautiful, productive and environmentally significant land. For more information about Sonoma Land Trust, please visit www.sonomalandtrust.org.