Special message from the Sea Grant director

Sept. 30, 2022

The National Sea Grant College Program is a federal-state-university partnership with 34 programs across the nation, including the program here in Wisconsin.

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 2022, Sea Grant had been funded at $76 million for its core work and provided with an additional $13.5 million to boost the aquaculture industry.

A new federal fiscal year begins on Oct. 1. Congress has not yet settled on an annual budget. That means Sea Grant will operate under what is known as a continuing resolution and at its year 2022 funding levels. That resolution will expire on Dec. 16, by which time elected officials intend to have completed a budget to fund federal programs for the remaining nine months of fiscal year 2023.

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, 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, those funds are supporting 12 new 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 President Biden and has shown in Sea Grant’s promise and delivery, particularly in the areas of resiliency and addressing the needs of underserved communities.

We are also deeply grateful for confidence that members of Congress have shown in the past in our ability to make a difference in coastal communities and on behalf of the Great Lakes themselves.

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 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 and the budget being proposed for what is known as FY23, 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. 

Thank you, 

Jim Hurley
Director, Wisconsin Sea Grant