The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has announced that it is joining with government and Bay Area leaders to support critical restoration and flood improvement efforts in the San Francisco Bay region.
According to the Associated Press, Moore Foundation president Steve McCormick, along with business leaders and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), are launching a ten-year, $1 billion campaign aimed at preventing flooding in Silicon Valley, with the biggest share of the funds expected to come from the federal government. The funds will be used in part to build a new earthquake- and storm-proof levee system along the southern edge of the bay, where tidal waters are held back by low-lying levees built more than a century ago.
According to Moore Foundation officials, efforts to restore habitat and improve flood protection in the region also will help fish and wildlife, filter pollutants, create buffers against sea level rise and storm surge impacts, and provide recreational and educational opportunities to millions of Bay Area residents. Private foundations in the area, Senator Feinstein, and public agencies already have invested in the acquisition, restoration, and stewardship of bayside lands to restore their ecological value and improve flood control.
Most of the $1 billion the public-private partnership hopes to raise will go to building levees, although a preliminary budget also includes funding to restore some 36,000 acres of wetlands that were drawn off and filled in over the past century and a half.
McCormick told the AP that as climate change-fueled sea levels rise, the region's existing levees will not be up to the task of protecting prime real estate. "There are dozens of corporate campuses in that flood zone," said McCormick. "There is billions of dollars worth of land that would be, for all intents and purposes, rendered unusable."