The Sea Grant Model
Sea Grant was created by the U.S. Congress in 1966 to be a highly leveraged federal and state partnership to harness the intellectual capacity of the nation’s universities to solve ocean, coastal, Great Lakes and island (hereby referred to as coastal) problems. The National Sea Grant College Program engages citizens, communities, scientists, organizations and governments to sustain and enhance the vitality, value and wise use of the nation’s coastal resources. Administered and supported by NOAA, and implemented through leading research universities, Sea Grant provides unique access to scientific expertise and to new discoveries. Through its scientists and communications, education, extension and legal specialists (hereby referred to as engagement professionals), Sea Grant generates, translates and delivers cutting‐edge, unbiased, science-based information to address complex issues.
Sea Grant is a national network. This network includes the National Sea Grant Office, 33 university‐based state programs, the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, the National Sea Grant Law Center, the National Sea Grant Library and hundreds of participating institutions. The Sea Grant network enables NOAA and the nation to tap the best science, technology and expertise to balance human and environmental needs in coastal communities. Sea Grant’s alliance with major research universities around the country provides access to thousands of scientists, students and engagement professionals. Sea Grant’s university‐based programs are fundamental to the development of the future scientists and resource managers needed to conduct research and to guide the responsible use and conservation of our nation’s coastal resources. With its strong research capabilities, local knowledge and on‐the‐ground workforce, Sea Grant provides an effective national network of unmatched ability to rapidly identify and capitalize on opportunities and to generate timely, practical solutions to real problems in real places.
Sea Grant Core Values
Since its inception, a strong set of core values has provided the foundation for Sea Grant’s work. Sea Grant is
founded on a belief in the critical importance of university‐based research and constituent engagement.
Planning Process and Strategic Approach
The collective Sea Grant network brought its wealth of expertise and experience to the task of creating this plan. The planning process began with identification of priorities by the Sea Grant state programs (and their stakeholders and advisory committees) followed by a review of existing plans and reports that set national, regional, state and local priorities. To elicit additional input and guidance, the Sea Grant network, national stakeholder groups, representatives from NOAA programs, other federal agencies and environmental nonprofit organizations were asked to provide input on three drafts of the 2014‐2017 National Sea Grant Program Strategic Plan
A strategic approach to managing coastal resources in ways that balance human use with environmental health requires:
Better science‐based information about how coastal ecosystems function and how human activities affect coastal habitats and living resources;
Citizens who understand the complexities of coastal environments and the interactions between human use and coastal ecosystem health;
Management and decision‐making processes that are based on sound information, involve citizens who have a stake in America’s coastal resources and include mechanisms to evaluate trade‐offs between human and environmental needs; and,
Incorporation of social science, including quality of life and sustainable economic development, into ecosystem‐based management decisions.
To help the nation understand, manage and use its coastal resources wisely, four focus areas were identified in the 2009-2013 Strategic Plan. The focus areas for the 2014-2017 plan evolved from the previous focus areas, and reflect America’s most urgent needs along our coasts, as well as NOAA goals and Sea Grant’s strengths and core values.
Each focus area has goals, outcomes and performance measures. The goals describe the desired long‐term direction for each focus area. The outcomes are benchmarks from which Sea Grant can track progress toward achieving each goal. Performance measures are quantitative ways of measuring outcomes with targets developed by each Sea Grant program.
1) Healthy Coastal Ecosystems
2) Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture
3) Resilient Communities and Economies
4) Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development
1) Hazard Resilient Coastal Communities
2) Healthy Coastal Ecosystems
3) Safe and Sustainable Seafood Supply
4) Sustainable Coastal Development