Nov. 17, 2023
The National Sea Grant College Program is a federal-state-university partnership with 34 programs across the nation, including the Wisconsin program.
Because federal dollars contribute to our ability to meet the needs of Wisconsin’s coastal communities, and in service to the Great Lakes ecosystem as a whole, we pay attention to funding levels. For the federal fiscal year of 2024, the administration has proposed to fund the program at $80.7 million, with an additional $14.1 million for aquaculture. The Senate committee overseeing Sea Grant’s budget voted in a bipartisan fashion to maintain level funding, which is $80 million and an additional $14 million for aquaculture. As of yet, no specific vote on Sea Grant funding has been taken by the House.
Congress did not complete work on the federal budget by the end of the fiscal year so it passed what is known as a continuing resolution that will fund the government and programs like Sea Grant at last year’s funding levels. That continuing resolution will expire on Feb. 2, 2024.
When budget deliberations resume, Wisconsin Sea Grant can demonstrate over and over the merit of its efforts and how it puts those dollars to good use. There are numbers: From 2018 to 2020, Wisconsin Sea Grant received $4.1 million in core federal dollars that were matched by $2 million in state investment. That leveraged investments of $4.5 million in additional state, federal and outside funding.
Currently, federal funds are supporting 12 new Wisconsin Sea Grant research projects, three education projects and dozens of outreach efforts happening from a base on six Wisconsin campuses. Initiatives include addressing the “forever” chemicals PFAS, research and outreach about marine debris and the transfer of skills and knowledge to the state’s growing $21 million-aquaculture industry.
We are deeply grateful for the confidence Congress and President Biden have shown in Sea Grant’s promise and delivery, particularly in the areas of resiliency, emerging contaminants, marine debris and addressing the needs of underserved communities.
Finally, and just as importantly, we are deeply grateful to those we serve, along with partners, collaborators and friends who offer an outpouring of support for our work. You know full well that Wisconsin Sea Grant funds lakes Michigan and Superior research, and the application of the research to ensure the sustainable use of these crown jewels that underpin the quality of life and economy of our state.
If you would like to make a comment to members of Congress regarding the value of Sea Grant, you can find your House of Representatives member at house.gov/representatives/find. Find your senators at senate.gov.
And to learn more about our current projects and impacts, check out this fact sheet.
Interim Director, Wisconsin Sea Grant