Final session: Focus Area reports

Sea Grant Week wrapped up Wednesday morning with a quick review of discussions at the four Focus Area breakout sessions the afternoon before. Groups had been asked to consider:

  1. Where we are heading
  2. What is Sea Grant’s “niche” in this topic and how can we develop strategies for funding and collaboration?
  3. Ideas for future National Strategic initiatives
  4. What are we missing?

Their reports, briefly:

Sustainable Coastal Development

  • Need better coordination to avoid duplication, form partnerships
  • Social sciences are our niche; however proposals can be hard to move because of lack of reviewers.
  • Build a national SG panel of qualified social science reviewers?
  • Need a centralized communication strategy for advancing the agenda of the focus areas

Safe and Sustainable Seafood

  • Heading toward regionalization, integration across focus centers, professionalizing the seafood/fishing industry with training and coursework
  • Our niche: As the engagement arm of Sea Grant
  • NSI ideas: “greening” of the industry
  • Missing: Impacts. Need clear examples and guidance. Decouple impact reporting from the annual report; impacts should be reported over time, not on an annual basis
  • How can the national office best handle and make use of all the reporting data? How do we know what’s been reported?
  • Focus teams need to communicate with the network (and NOAA, and constituents) – and vice versa.

Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

  • Programs need more information about the roles and activities of focus groups.
  • Review focus team membership so all programs and networks are represented; maybe outside partners and funders, too.
  • There’s no need for new teams, but we could improve integration across teams.
  • NSI ideas: Evaluation of long-term restoration efforts
  • Value and evaluation of restoration and ecosystem function work
  • Environmental literacy
  • If we are aligned well with the NOAA plan, we need to communicate that

Hazard Resilience

  • Better communication between focus teams and network
  • National impact statements do not always communicate the whole of the network’s effort
  • SG needs to take focus groups to a higher level and better integrate them with programs. Teams should serve as “think tanks” for give and take
  • Perhaps we should map our strategic plan to NOAA’s.
  • Sea Grant is moving beyond flood insurance as a resilience technique
  • Need more emphasis of integrating social science into physical science “to see the whole picture.”
  • Niche: Working with community “movers and shakers” – need better approaches to educating them.
  • We need better predisaster planning and stronger response liaisons.
  • NSI: how to predict, prepare for, mitigate and adapt to hazard vulnerability” on a local scale

Climate change

  • No need for a separate climate focus team, but climate change needs to be better integrated into all teams.
  • We need a better idea of SG climate activities, goals  and priorities
  • A standing working group with people from other focus areas and funding for meetings would facilitate this.
  • SG needs to focus on climate variability as well as change; it helps engage stakeholders because they understand variability regardless of their positions on longterm change.
  • Need to improve our visibility and connections with vulnerable communities.
  • We’re uniquely qualified to help NOAA meet its goal of a climate-literate public.


  • Not every program is represented on every focus team; people could become more interested as the teams become more critical to what we do
  • Need a means of  communicating team activities to the network to keep people engaged
  • There’s a lack of understanding of the teams’ roles and relationship to NOAA.
  • Energy is an outlier. some programs are engaged in the topic but we aren’t sure where our niche is. Perhaps it fits in sustainable communities.
  • Topic is not ripe for an NSI

About Pat Kight, Oregon Sea Grant

Web and blog administrator, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University.
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