Key West, FL (October 17, 2019) –The non-profit Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel announced today a partnership to fund conservation and restoration of the coral reefs of the Florida Keys.
The agreement was announced by Robert A. Spottswood, Chairman & CEO of Spottswood Companies, which owns the Marriott Beachside Hotel, and Foundation President & CEO Andrew Walker.
“Our Key West property has supported various environmental and community endeavors in the Florida Keys since opening in 2007”, said Spottswood, who also chairs the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). “There is no more important issue facing us today than keeping care of our environment and recovery of the coral reef. We are happy to partner with the Foundation to help in this effort.”
Under the terms of the agreement, each Key West Marriott Beachside guest will be asked to add a dollar to their hotel bill to be donated to a “Florida Keys Coral Reef Conservation Fund” managed by the Foundation. At least once a year, the funds will be donated to conservation agencies and organizations addressing major threats to the reef ecosystem. Spottswood Companies has also agreed to help the Foundation recruit other Keys and South Florida businesses to join the partnership, with a goal of generating at least $1 million/year for reef conservation. Such sustained, predictable funding is essential for long-term restoration and management of the reef ecosystem.
Keys reefs are part of the 360-mile Florida Reef Tract, which extends from Martin County on the Atlantic Coast south and west to the Dry Tortugas. The reef is critical to Florida’s $8 billion/year recreational fishing economy. Boating, fishing, diving and snorkeling also drive the Keys tourism economy. Coral reefs also protect mainland Florida and the Keys from intense waves generated by hurricanes.
The Florida Keys Coral Reef Conservation Fund will help address a number of stresses, including reef damage from anchors and inexperienced divers, siltation, water pollution and “bleaching” events caused by periodic episodes of high water temperatures. Recently, previously unknown stony coral tissue loss disease has spread across the entire reef tract, killing 22 of the reef’s 45 species of stony coral. The Foundation is working with FWC and many other organizations to rescue and propagate healthy corals for eventual return to the reef.
“The generosity of Spottswood Companies and the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel will inspire many other local businesses to provide their own customers with an opportunity to restore and protect our reefs for generations to come,” said Foundation CEO Andrew Walker. “We are thrilled to partner with the hotel and appreciate their vision in leading the preservation of our reefs.”
For more information about the Florida Keys Coral Reef Conservation Fund, please contact Ms. Michelle Ashton at the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida ([email protected]; 813.358.8058).
About Spottswood Companies, Owner and Manager of the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel
Spottswood Companies, Inc. and its affiliates (SCI) are a diversified, family-owned organization with investments in real estate, timesharing, marinas, hospitality, broadcasting and banking. They understand the importance of relationships with investors, customers, employees, environment and community. They seek to create, nurture and manage innovative programs that will benefit and encourage these very important relationships over the long term.
About the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida
The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and other public and private partners to conserve Florida’s native animals and plants, and the lands and waters they need to survive. Since its founding in 1994, the Foundation has raised and donated nearly $40 million to conservation and outdoor recreation and education. More information can be found at wildlifeflorida.org.