Special message from the Sea Grant director

Dec. 23, 2019

Congress has now completed work on a fiscal year 2020 budget, and the president signed it. Despite the administration having proposed to remove entirely Sea Grant from the budget and shut down the 34 programs operating in coastal and Great Lakes states, as it did in the two previous budgets, Sea Grant is alive and well. It is funded at $87 million, which is a $7 million increase over the 2019 budget. Within that total, $13 million will be dedicated to aquaculture research.

We are deeply grateful for the confidence members of Congress have shown in our ability to make a difference in coastal communities and on behalf of the Great Lakes themselves. We are also deeply grateful to our stakeholders, partners, collaborators and friends who offered an outpouring of support for our work. They 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. 

Wisconsin Sea Grant can demonstrate over and over the merit of its efforts through this federal-state program that is locally focused to serve coastal communities. There are numbers: From 2016 to 2018, Sea Grant received $3.6 million in core federal dollars that were matched by $1.8 million in state investment. That leveraged investments of $2.9 million in additional state, federal and outside funding. Currently, those funds are supporting 19 Sea Grant research projects on eight Wisconsin campuses and providing statewide outreach through extension activities. Initiatives include assessments of flood risk; conducting research on and providing awareness training related to dangerous waves and rip currents; providing assistance to the shipping industry to maximize its infrastructure; exploration of new harvest methods for commercial anglers; and the transfer of skills and knowledge to the state’s growing $21 million-aquaculture industry.

If you would like to make a comment to members of Congress regarding the value of Sea Grant–or to express your thanks for the 2020 level of support– you can find your House of Representatives member at house.gov/representatives/find. Find your senators at senate.gov

Thank you, 

Jim Hurley
Director, Wisconsin Sea Grant