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Program Vision

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Woods Hole Sea Grant Strategic Plan

The Woods Hole Sea Grant Program began as a Coherent Program in 1973 with a budget of approximately $200,000. Initially a research-based program, it achieved Institutional Program status in 1985, with a balance of research and outreach activities at a level of 60 percent/40 percent, respectively. The program assumed the traditional Sea Grant approach in 1990 when the Marine Advisory, or Extension, component was restructured. An Outreach and Education Program was introduced that same year.

At WHOI, Woods Hole Sea Grant is uniquely positioned to draw upon the Institution’s resources—including world-class research and engineering innovation, and access to privately and publicly funded programs from which to leverage support for Sea Grant’s priority issues. This adds value to the national Sea Grant network, just as Woods Hole Sea Grant adds value to WHOI, through its unique integration of science and outreach activities, the large number of Sea Grant supported-publications (nearly 800 publications since the program’s inception), and the wide range of marine extension services, outreach, and education programs provided locally and regionally.

Strategic Issues
Many of the issues that impact Massachusetts’ coastal waters mirror key issues for coastal areas throughout the United States:
  • Increasing pressure on coastal resources due to rising coastal population
  • Increasing coastal development
  • Conflicts between private ownership of the coast and public acces
  • Tourism
  • Pollution
  • Declining natural fisheries and exploration of alternative fisheries
  • Growth in aquaculture
  • Natural shoreline change (through storms, erosion, coastal processes, and sea level rise)
  • Human-induced coastal change (alteration of the shoreline for recreational or developmental purposes)
  • Accelerated sea level rise as a result of climate change

Because Woods Hole Sea Grant cannot effectively take on every issue, the program staff monitors the efforts of the region’s regulatory agencies, organizations, and private programs to assess how and to what degree issues are being addressed. Frequently, Woods Hole Sea Grant joins forces with other groups to address specific research, technology, and outreach issues or problems. The ability to form such collaborations is one of the program’s greatest strengths and helps leverage funding and increase the scope and impact of core programmatic efforts.

The NOAA Sea Grant Strategic Plan for FY 2003-2008 and Beyond focuses on ten theme areas that are connected to NOAA’s mission goals and strategies. The theme areas include: aquaculture, biotechnology, coastal communities and economies, coastal hazards, digital ocean, ecosystems and habitats, fisheries, marine and aquatic science literacy, seafood science and urban coasts. Within these themes are national priority areas in aquatic invasive species, fisheries extension, harmful algae blooms, oyster disease research.

Consistent with the goals of the national strategic plan, Woods Hole Sea Grant is implementing its strategic plan within four major theme areas:

  • Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Environmental Technologies
  • Estuarine and Coastal Processes
  • Outreach and Education

These areas have been identified by three distinct mechanisms:

  • Solicitation of research ideas from the academic community; selection of those ideas that best represent scientific excellence and that meet the goals of the National Sea Grant Strategic Plan;
  • Through our interactions with our advisory groups; identification of potential products and outreach mechanisms for transfer of information, especially within the context of the management and information needs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, particularly southeastern Massachusetts;
  • Interaction with state and federal agencies to transfer technical information into the development of new policies and practices.

In each theme area, research progress and application of results determine the identification of milestones.

Last updated: November 6, 2012

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