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May 2024 Desk of Director

Dear Sea Grant Colleagues, 

Late-Spring is in full swing with touches of summer temperatures teasing us here in the Mid-Atlantic. As a sign of the season, we were able to launch our sailboat and get it onto its berth on our dock in early May! I hope that you have had a chance to enjoy the season as well!. 

It’s a busy time for Sea Grant as can be seen by my tardy efforts to send out this Desk of the Director. First of all, I would like to belatedly thank the Sea Grant Association and the National Sea Grant Advisory Board with support network and NSGO for organizing extraordinary and productive meetings this past March. Also, my sincerest gratitude to all members of our network, national office and advisory board who were able to join and participate in that meeting. In late April, I also attended an inspiring Mid-Atlantic Regional Sea Grant Network meeting in Virginia Beach. It was great to see long-time friends and colleagues and to meet so many new Sea Grant staff! 

Recently, we celebrated the publication of the special issue of Oceanography entitled:  Sea Grant: Science Serving America’s Coastlines and People ( Volume 37 | Number 1 | March 2024).  The issue includes 35 articles that span long and short research articles, side bars, career profiles, art and poetry, and more.  There were over 175 authors that contributed to this project which included representation from 29 of the Sea Grant programs, NSGO, and over 50 external partners. Go to to view the amazing online flip book. Thank you to all of the visionaries and guest editors from Sea Grant who made this publication possible! We are encouraging our NSGO staff to take a little time each day this month to read a story or spotlight. For me, visiting the programs and reading stories like these always remind me just how special Sea Grant is and how important our jobs are to so many people that benefit from the impact of our work. 

I’d also like to highlight one of our recent communications products, the Sea Grant National Aquaculture Portfolio & Highlights Packet. This is the latest NSGO factsheet, which captures Sea Grant’s work in aquaculture from 2018 through 2024, featuring metrics and impacts from annual reporting. I encourage you to take a glance through and use this, as helpful, as a public resource, in addition to Sea Grant’s latest By the Numbers factsheet.

Below is a summary of a number of administrative doings and actions. I know that the National Office has sent a number of communications out lately; it is simply that time of year, and particularly so as we start a new Omnibus cycle and begin preparations for the upcoming round of Site Reviews. Please bear with us and reach out if you have questions.

NSGO Webinar – May 30th: The May Edition of our Quarterly Webinar for the Network has been scheduled. The webinar will be held on Thursday 5/30 at 3:30 – 4:30 PM (join here). We will be using Google Meet to allow for more interaction. In this webinar, I will be sharing a few updates from the NSGO and look forward to addressing any questions that you may have. I’m looking forward to interacting with you all! Click here to add this event to your calendar. 

The meeting information is below for your convenience: 

Quarterly Webinar for the Network – May 2024

Thursday, May 30 · 3:30 – 4:30pm

Time zone: America/New_York

Google Meet joining info

Video call link:

Or dial: ‪(US) +1 567-400-0899‬ PIN: ‪934 991 964‬#

More phone numbers:

Omnibus Proposal Processing Update: As many of you are aware, the NSGO and SGA leadership has been pushing very hard over the past 4-6 weeks to get our 2024-2027 Omnibus Awards elevated to the highest priority level for action as we continue through the challenging and troubling rollouts of the the new DOC financial accounting system (BAS) and grants management system (eRA). I am pleased to report that these efforts were successful 10 days ago when we gained support from NOAA and DOC leadership to assign our Omnibus awards the highest priority status. We are working closely with our partners in the Grants Management Division (GMD) and the Federal Assistance Law Division (FALD) to expedite these actions and, as a result, we saw four additional awards issued last week (for a total of 6) and are hopeful that that rate will increase in the coming weeks. Thank you in advance for your continued support and timely response to GMD, FALD and NSGO requests for clarification.

For the new 2024-2027 Omnibus/PIE Cycle:

  • Last month, we released the 2024-2027 PIE Policy & Annual Report Guidance that serves to outline processes and expectations for the new Omnibus cycle. These documents are also available on Inside Sea Grant with other Policy and Guidance documents. Please refer to the Inside Sea Grant Reporting & Evaluation page for the materials.

  • Similarly, on April 19th directors and director back-ups received communication from the National Office regarding Use Requirements for the Sea Grant Logo and NOAA Emblem that are being being more formally required by NOAA General Counsel and codified as a Special Award Condition (SAC) in each 2024-2027 Omnibus award. Based on significant feedback from many sectors in the network, it is clear that I/we misjudged the degree to which folks were aware of the long discussions that had been had between the communicators in the NSGO and the Network. While the legal requirements for logo and emblem use are very unlikely to change, I have asked our NSGO communications team and the SGA Communicator’s Network to work together to assess and evolve the process to the greatest degree possible moving forward. In the meantime, please use the Inside Sea Grant Implementation page for the most up to date information.

For the Current 2018-2027 Omnibus/PIE Cycle and Upcoming SRT Cycle:

We have received several inquiries concerning whether the upcoming Site Review Team visits will be impacted by the FY25 President’s Budget, including potentially moving dates, changing timing or moving from an in-person to virtual format, most related to workload and cost. We will continue to plan for in-person SRTs this coming year for the following reasons:

  • Despite the challenges and uncertainty that we have faced this year, in-person SRT visits have been established and agreed to by the NSGO, Network and Advisory Board as a best management practice.

  • The value of engaging with constituents, program staff and university/agency leadership in-person has been found to be invaluable and beneficial to programs, particularly during times of financial challenge.

In preparing for the SRTs, programs are encouraged to: (a) use virtual presentations as part of the in-person visits and engagement when financially and/or logistically advantageous for constituents and staff who might otherwise have to fly in and stay at the main venue; (b) remember that expensive venues and catering are not expected; and (c) understand that there is not an expectation for the materials to be artistic and publication quality from a visual perspective (although we know that some programs have done so with a particular eye on being able to share them externally beyond the SRT).

Annual Reporting for the last year of the 2018-2023 Omnibus Cycle Deadline is June 5, 2024. This will be the last annual report for the 2018-2023 cycle prior to SRT visits and it will be critical that all materials are submitted by this date so that these materials can be incorporated into the summary materials required for the SRTs. Guidance for reporting can be found on Inside Sea Grant and the Sea Grant Collection at the NOAA Library.  Please direct questions to with an email title, “Annual Reporting”. 

eRA Resource: Changing Project Director (PD)/Principal Investigator (PI) in eRA Commons

As a part of transition from Grants Online to eRA, you may need to assign or change your  PD/PI. Please review this guidance document to see if it applies to your program. We will also be adding this to our website, along with other eRA resources.

Lastly, while this year has been challenging in many ways, I am constantly reminded of the incredible difference you all make through your hard work, support, and contributions to Sea Grant.  For that, I sincerely thank each and every one of you and remain optimistic about Sea Grant’s future. 

Warm regards, 


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