Margaret Davidson, director of NOAA’s Coastal Service Center (and a former Sea Grant hand), offered the following challenges:
- The future of NOAA – and thus of Sea Grant – lies in regionalism . Sea Grant can provide “the connective tissue” that ties the organization’s diverse entities together.
- Programs should hook up with people in NOAA who have “regional” in their titles.
- The region-wide response of Gulf Sea Grant programs to the Deepwater Horizon spill provides a good example of the value of coordinated, regional research, outreach and communications.
- The question of resilience – how communities (ecological, human) respond to crisis – will be a “real growth business” in a time of increasingly severe climate events. “Everything we need to get humans to do on the short time scale is exactly what we need to get them to do on the … climate scale.”
- Given federal budget realities, Sea Grant must look for other funding sources – including agencies we aren’t used to approaching (FEMA, DHS, etc.)
“At the end of the day, the goal should not be to be useful – it should be ‘to be used.’ ” – MD
Paul Sandifer, senior scientist with NOAA’s Centers for Coastal Ocean Science:
- Sea Grant needs to have “a regional base and a national focus” to thrive in the new NOAA.