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Companies get involved to help restore seagrass beds

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Corporate sponsors are among those helping the Bermuda Seagrass Project expand the seagrass restoration efforts initiated by the Bermuda Government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Global environmental organisation Climate Wise said there has been support from BF&M, PwC Bermuda, and SailGP, as well as by private individuals.

Climate Wise, which has a presence in Bermuda as well as in the United Kingdom and Argentina, is co-ordinating the project group as well as assisting with fundraising, governance and reporting.

Announcing the expansion, Climate Wise said the restoration of seagrass on the Bermuda platform will provide a suite of benefits to the island’s marine environment.

Since designing and testing the novel approach of cages to protect and allow seagrass to re-establish, the DENR has worked alongside a number of local entities, including Climate Wise, to build a project of “true public-private partnership”, the organisation said.

Climate Wise said the partnership includes government, local and international organisations, and members of the public concerned about the loss of seagrass and the impacts to the marine environment who have generously donated material and time for the construction of the seagrass restoration cages enabling the re-establishment of larger areas of seagrass at more locations.

Stephen Castree, a founder of Climate Wise, said: “The Bermuda Seagrass Project brings together leading local corporate supporters of the environment; the science community; tourism; and education in an exciting and dynamic way whilst also regenerating a fabulous carbon sequestration bio-resource which can help heal our damaged environment.

“With improved seagrass comes an improved marine environment; adding a safe place for turtles to graze will allow locals and tourists alike to spend time with our sea turtle neighbours, all whilst creating seagrass pastures which can act as incredible carbon sinks and help contribute to the improvement of our damaged climate.

“With PwC Bermuda, SailGP and BF&M all committing to providing funding of both time and resources, coupled with a significant number of local supporters, this project is going from strength to strength.”

Keir Savage, partner, PwC Bermuda, said: “Corporate responsibility and reducing our environmental footprint in order to protect all of the earth's inhabitants are key aspects of our purpose as a business. We are pleased to support Climate Wise and the Bermuda Seagrass Project to help increase awareness and appreciation for critical habitats and a healthy marine environment."

Climate Wise said the project has attracted both support and interest across the community.

John Wight, group chairman and CEO of BF&M Ltd, said: “We are excited to support the Bermuda Seagrass Project, which aims not only to replenish habitats for Bermuda marine life but also to provide an invaluable carbon-offsetting role.

“A number of our community sponsorships are about celebrating and nurturing our maritime heritage, and ocean wellness is particularly meaningful given that most of our operating entities are islands.”

Climate Wise said SailGP, the organisation behind the Bermuda Sail Grand Prix presented with Hamilton Princess in Bermuda this weekend, has been a strong supporter of the initiative.

Fiona Morgan, director of impact at SailGP, said: “SailGP believes in the power of sport for good. We are committed to delivering impact and working with each of our host cities through local projects to protect the ocean and accelerate the transition to clean energy.

“SailGP is proud to work with Climate Wise and support the Bermuda Seagrass Project to help it achieve its local practical and science-based benefits which include using restoration and conservation to re-balance the affected seagrass ecosystems, longer term creating verified carbon sequestration opportunities and linking host city projects globally.”

The collaborative approach is one that is hoped to be replicated in several, other environmental initiatives that are currently being evaluated, Climate Wise said, adding that harnessing the combined power of the public and private sector can position Bermuda as a leader in the climate space.

Roland Andy Burrows, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency, said: “Bermuda has a strong culture of climate awareness and is committed to playing its part in improving and sustaining the environment here at home and on an international scale.

“This project builds on Bermuda’s four century legacy of environmental stewardship and does so by harnessing the power of collaboration between the public and private sector – something the Bermuda market is well-known for.

“In addition to investing in our biodiversity, projects like these invest in our diverse and energetic human capital, support career opportunities and contribute to Bermuda’s economic development. We thank all those who are involved and are delighted to see this project progress.”

For more information on Climate Wise, visit https://climate-wise.com/contact/

Stephen Castree, a founder of Climate Wise (Photograph supplied)
A satellite image from 1999 showing the Chub Head reef area near Bermuda, with an abundant seagrass meadow in the centre (Photograph supplied)
The same Chub Head reef area as the 1999 photograph, but today there is no seagrass (Photograph by Philippe Rouja)
Roland Andy Burrows, CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency (File photograph)

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Published April 22, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated April 23, 2021 at 2:01 pm)

Companies get involved to help restore seagrass beds

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