According to The Ocean Foundation, seagrass is responsible for about 15% of total carbon storage in the ocean; however, one-third of the world’s seagrass meadows have been lost through human activities
Submitted by: Columbia Sportswear
Posted: Mar 11, 2010 – 04:15 PM EST
PORTLAND, Ore., Mar. 11 /CSRwire/ - Columbia Sportswear Company (NASDAQ: COLM) and The Ocean Foundation announced today they are joining forces to protect and restore seagrass meadows.
"Columbia is the first company in the outdoor industry to recognize the critical importance of seagrass to marine ecosystems, our economy and quality of life," said Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation. "Together, we will educate thousands of online visitors about the importance of seagrass beds in protecting our oceans and our planet, as well as how to safely travel through them."
Columbia Sportswear Company and The Ocean Foundation are launching this effort online (www.columbia.com/seagrass) on March 9, in conjunction with Seagrass Awareness Month in the state of Florida. In addition, Columbia has provided an initial donation of $10,000 to enhance the SeaGrass Grow campaign.
"Columbia Sportswear is proud to partner with The Ocean Foundation's SeaGrass Grow Campaign to help raise awareness and protect our seagrass habitat before it’s too late," said Tim Boyle, President and CEO, Columbia Sportswear Company. "Columbia is all about helping our consumers enjoy the Greater Outdoors, and healthy seagrass is the foundation of healthy fisheries and aquatic ecosystems. We look forward to educating the public about this important conservation issue."
Seagrass beds are home to dozens of animals, including fish, shellfish, eels, and seahorses; in fact, 70% of marine life is dependent on seagrass at some stage in their life cycle. Seagrasses play an important role in sequestering carbon in the oceans. Their leaf systems and root structures help stabilize the sea floor, which helps to protect the coastlines during storms. However, boat groundings, propeller scarring, ill-placed development, and other human activities have damaged the world's seagrass meadows. According to a recent release from the United Nations Environment Programme, over 30 percent of seagrass meadows have been lost since the 1940s.
Active restoration of seagrass has been successful and provides continued access to boaters who depend on these waters for their livelihoods and recreation. The SeaGrass Grow Campaign will provide funding to grassroots organizations globally working to conserve and restore this critical resource.
"Through our charitable SeaGrass Grow campaign we are already achieving successful restoration and preservation of areas impacted from boaters through prop scars and vessel groundings," added The Ocean Foundation's Spalding. "Columbia's global distribution and network of partners will help to publicize and expand this dynamic program."
About Columbia Sportswear
Columbia Sportswear Company is a global leader in the design, sourcing, marketing and distribution of active outdoor apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment. Founded in 1938 in Portland, Oregon, Columbia products are sold in more than 100 countries and have earned an international reputation for innovation, quality and performance. Columbia products feature innovative technologies and designs that protect outdoor enthusiasts from the elements, increase comfort, and make outdoor activities more enjoyable. In addition to the Columbia brand, Columbia Sportswear Company also owns outdoor brands Mountain Hardwear®, Sorel®, Montrail®, and Pacific Trail®. To learn more, please visit the company's websites at www.columbia.com, www.mountainhardwear.com, www.sorel.com, and www.montrail.com.
About The Ocean Foundation
The Ocean Foundation's mission is to support, strengthen, and promote those organizations dedicated to reversing the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. For more information, visit http://www.oceanfdn.org/index.php?ht=d/sp/i/355/pid/355//pid/351.
For information about The Ocean Foundation's SeaGrass Grow campaign, visit http://www.seagrassgrow.org.