Focus Area Reports

Jim Murray, Deputy Director, National Sea Grant office gave an overview of the evolution of the Sea Grant Focus Area teams:

  • Teams grew out of the 2006 National Research Council recommendation that Sea Grant needed a strong, focused strategic plan, consistent with a campaign to create a strong national identity for the program.
  • That strategic planning effort resulted in four focus areas and three crosscutting goals (research, education, extension), as well as a program review process that emphasized the need to “live the strategic plan.”
  • The resulting focus area teams needed subject-matter expertise in order to plan and implement Sea Grant activities, identify new opportunities and directions and catalyze efforts within the program and with external partners.
  • It was recognized that state programs did this work well but the national office did it less well; the focus teams were seen as a mechanism to help improve.

Team reports

Hazard Resilience (Mike Liffman, national office extension leader):

Noted that the focus teams have identified 2,555 national impact stories to date,  provided  guidance to programs on writing their impact stories, and national leadership and support for efforts such as the climate network workshops. They have also generated “big ideas” – the small business and innovation research initiative, for instance – and budget initiatives.

Liffman offered several examples of program and regional contributions to the hazards resilience focus, including:

  • Gulf Sea Grant programs and their swift, coordinated outreach response to the BP oil spill.
  • Oregon SG’s Joe Cone and his collaborative work on climate change, including the “Helping the Nation Prepare” summary of SG climate work and an upcoming national climate survey
  • The 2010 Coastal Processes roundtable
  • The planned 2011 Sea Grant-Land Grant Climate Extension Summit

Impacts include:

  • Planning mitigation and adaptation efforts(hurricane-proof buildings research, coastal  erosion projects, tsunami and earthquake outreach
  • Development of tools addressing storm surge modeling, storm cost prediction, beach erosion research and monitoring, and the interactive Texas Coastal Community Planning Atlas.

Gaps/opportunities remain in:

  • Climate science and outreach
  • Floodplain management
  • Systematic evaluation of impacts
  • Coastal resilience/communities of practice
  • National/regional implementation

Safe and Sustainable Seafood (Phil Moy, Wisconsin Sea Grant fisheries and invasive species specialist)


  • 2009 Seafood science/technology conference
  • Advice on Sea Grant aquaculture research and extension
  • 2010 symposium on local catch quality and marketing

Impacts include:

  • Sea Grant support of responsible harvest practices, including reduction of ghost fishing and bycatch, lost gear retrieval
  • Consumer education on health benefits of eating fish, choosing fresh seafood
  • Processor training in HACCP protocols and procedures
  • Technical information for resource managers and policy makers

Gaps/opportunities remain in:

  • Spatial planning impacts
  • Impacts of offshore wind energy on fisheries
  • climate change
  • catch shares
  • realtime data collection and reporting
  • Informing consumers about the importance of HACCP
  • Scientifically credible seafood sustainability/consumption information
  • Getting fresh fish on “healthy school” menus

Healthy Coastal Ecosystems (Barry Costa-Pierce, Rhode Island Sea Grant)


  • Team activities were matched to the national implementation plan
  • Sea Grant sessions at the 2009 International Marine Conservation Congress,the 2009 Coastal Estuaries Research Federation meeting, the 2009 meeting of the Ecological Society of America
  • Advised the national program office’s aquatic nuisance species strategic investments program
  • Set up working group with University of California-Santa Barbara to identify critical new directions in marine and coastal ecosystem science research


  • Water quality: New national standards; predictive modeling for water management
  • Restoration: Coastal habitat creation; innovative restoration technology and strategies; science for implementation and value of restoration stewardship; historic data for predicting ecosystem change; ecosystem-based management of coral reefs; science for stewardship of beach ecosystems

Gaps and opportunities:

  • Better use of communication technologies (ie,the interactive coastal atlas)
  • Innovative/safe invasive species eradication
  • Development of fisheries for invasives
  • National partnerships for local ecosystem services valuation
  • Habitat mapping for coastal and marine spatial planning
  • Partnerships with EPA oil dispersant research

Sustainable Coastal Development (Heater Triezenberg, national SG office)


  • Sustainable urbanism seminar (Maine)
  • Smart Growth for coastal and waterfront communities (with NOAA)
  • Working water ways and waterfronts conference, 2010
  • NEMO 07 symposium  and workshop on nonpoint source education
  • Sea Grant coastal and marine tourism roundtable


  • Engagement, planning and decision-making – collaborative processes, tools, policies and change (habits, laws, policies, attitudes)
  • Coastal economies – Sea Grant program contributions to coastal communities
  • Land, water and energy use
  • Clean marinas and slips
  • Cutting-edge energy (wave, wind, biofuels)


  • Lack of research to support outreach, especially on economic impacts, public perceptions, cost-benefit analysis, alternate scenarios
  • Green building and community design
  • Partnerships – coastal marine planning, the land-water interface
  • Implementation: invite directors to describe research needs
  • Convene technical resource panel for social science reviews
  • Develop coastal land use data layers for GIS
  • Create coastal development indicators

Recommendations from all teams

  • Importance of separating annual reporting from impact reporting
  • Help improve impact reporting – Identifying true impacts, regional  impacts, impact evaluation, training
  • Compile and share tools and resources for each focus area

About Pat Kight, Oregon Sea Grant

Web and blog administrator, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University.
This entry was posted in Climate, Conference session, Fisheries and seafood, Focus Teams, Hazards resilience, Sustainable development. Bookmark the permalink.

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