March 4, 2021
Recently, donors completed a matching challenge, gifting $200,000 to Salk’s Coastal Plant Restoration (CPR) program to address increasingly urgent needs to preserve some of the world’s largest carbon reservoirs and restore global wetland ecosystems. This approach holds great promise for safeguarding these tremendous carbon sinks while stabilizing, and in many cases, rebuilding land lost to erosion and unprecedented sea level rise.
Salk’s Harnessing Plants Initiative, a scalable, simple and bold approach to drawing down excess carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere by developing coastal and crop plants that are efficient at capturing and storing carbon deep in the ground for long periods.
Kristy Kitzmiller, a founding member of the HPI Advisory Committee, and her husband Brandon Moran, committed $100,000 to CPR in June of 2019, in the form of a matching challenge.
The list of generous donors completing the challenge included Greg and Rebecca Arnold, Thomas and Tomomi Duterme, David and Cheryl Lawrence, Goldman Sachs Gives – Tom Morrow & Audry Ai, Eric Ross and Nicole MacNeel, and Neal and Margaret Schmale.
“Brandon and I believe that this aspect of HPI is not only essential to safeguard these vast reserves of carbon, but this novel approach will have an impact on the global carbon cycle in a short period of time,” says Kitzmiller.
This support will enable Salk scientists to, for the first time in history, sequence the genomes of many of the critical plants that comprise wetland ecosystems. The resulting insights will allow the team to assemble a roadmap for the successful preservation and restoration of these global ecosystems with native plant varieties that can withstand current and future climate conditions.
“We are so grateful to each of these contributors,” adds Salk Professor Joseph Noel, lead researcher of the CPR project. “These very generous gifts aiming to better equip our coastal wetlands with the capacity to drawdown greenhouse gases and store its carbon naturally in wetland sediments is a godsend for our program. The Kitzmiller match will be used immediately to jump start our work on our local seagrass beds to generate new genomes of these plants which are critical to stabilizing our coastline.”
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