Healthy Coastal Ecosystems (2009-2013 Focus Area)
Healthy coastal ecosystems are the foundation for life along the coast. However, increasingly rapid coastal development, global overfishing, and other human activities are leading to water quality degradation, decline of fisheries, wetlands loss, proliferation of invasive species, and a host of other challenges that need to be understood in order to restore and maintain these ecosystems. Ecosystem functioning does not respect traditional political boundaries, and responsible management of ecosystems requires new kinds of thinking and actions.
Sea Grant is a leader in regional approaches to understanding and maintaining healthy ecosystems, with planning efforts underway across the country to identify information gaps, set research priorities, and coordinate information and technology transfer to those who need it. Sea Grant has fostered efforts to address widespread problems such as invasive species that are found in geographically dispersed areas, and has hired staff, shared among several state programs, to tackle these problems. Sea Grant’s regional consortia, nationwide networks, and international contacts are particularly well-suited to helping the nation address ecosystem health at the appropriate local, state, regional, national and global levels.