Science Serving Communities

2017-11-30T15:26:25+00:00 November 13, 2017|
(Click to enlarge)

(Click to enlarge)

What It Was

The Sea Grant Association, in conjunction with Representatives Lee Zeldin (NY-1) and Joe Courtney (CT-2), hosted a briefing, “Using science and outreach to assist state and local decision makers in disaster preparedness and public safety.”

Why It Matters

Hurricanes Maria, Harvey, Irma, and Nate, along with raging wildfires, have wreaked havoc on the lives of Americans this year, leading Congress to appropriate $50 billion in emergency disaster aid since September. Sea Grant supports research that seeks to understand natural disasters, how humans and nature respond, and how to prepare for the future based on past outcomes.

Key Points

The National Sea Grant College Program, a federal-state partnership between 33 universities and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), supports coastal and Great Lakes communities through research on topics ranging from aquaculture and resilience to water testing and community planning.

All panelists spoke in support of Sea Grant’s community based projects, sharing how they are vital to ensuring public safety and a strong economy, and described how Sea Grant research is being implemented into action.

A study that investigated where people get their storm warning information (e.g. T.V., apps, etc.), how they process the material, and what can be done to improve storm warnings is now being used by the National Weather Service to improve communication.

Basic research on harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie is bringing together multiple states and stakeholders (e.g. agriculture, public health, water sanitation, and environmental protection) to understand more about blooms, what causes them, and how they can be prevented or addressed.

Rep. Courtney spoke on Congress’s support of Sea Grant and noted that although it was zeroed out in the president’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget request, “[Sea Grant] was an all-star in that [it] got 100 percent of funding restored.”

Reps. Zeldin and Courtney attested to the value of constituent voices to inform members of Congress and their staff about the issues and programs they care about.


“It is a constant effort to educate [on Capitol Hill]. It is always changing, it may be that there are new members or new staffers, and that effort to educate [is always needed].” – Representative Lee Zeldin (NY-1)

 “Hawaii’s goal is to have an informed public that can get ahead and plan for the storm.” – Mr. Vern Miyagi (Administrator, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency)

 “Every speaker here today said the same thing. What we need is comprehensive regional planning.” – Dr. Edward J. Mahaney Jr. (Principal, Mahaney Consulting LLC and Mayor Emeritus, City of Cape May)

Find Out More

 Related coverage from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership

Want to read more stories like this one? This ran in COL’s weekly newsletter, Ocean News Weekly: Week of November 13, 2017 – Number 390. Read this newsletter in full here, and sign up to receive it in your inbox here.