2/3/10

NOAA’s Sea Grant Awards Eight ‘Climate Engagement’ Mini-Grants

Coastal residents, businesses and decision-makers around the country will consider how their communities can adapt to climate change through eight newly awarded NOAA National Sea Grant College Program grants.

Each of these $25,000 climate engagement mini-grants will support projects focused on preparing for changing climate conditions. The projects will be led by principal investigators from local Sea Grant programs and NOAA Regional Collaboration Teams in eight regions including Alaska, the Pacific Islands and sections of the mainland United States.

“Since our Sea Grant researchers and extension agents serve the local coastal communities in which they live, Sea Grant is well-suited to connect NOAA science to the needs of local coastal communities,” said Leon Cammen, director of the NOAA National Sea Grant College Program. “Issues related to climate change are a Sea Grant priority.”

The mini-grants will fund projects in the following regions:

• Great Lakes – To create training modules to prepare leaders of coastal communities around the Great Lakes to develop climate adaptation plans necessary to keep their communities safe and productive into the next century. Principal investigators: Rochelle Sturtevant, Great Lakes regional Sea Grant extension educator of Michigan Sea Grant and Elizabeth Mountz, NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

• Alaska – To produce a short video on the effects of climate change on Alaska and how Alaska marine-dependent communities can plan for adaptation. The video will be a focal point of community workshops around the state and will be shown on statewide television and on the internet. Principal investigators: Paula Cullenberg, Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Amy Holman, NOAA Alaska regional coordinator.

• Central – To sponsor the Native Peoples and Native Homelands II Workshop to give NOAA and Sea Grant opportunity to engage Native American, Alaskan and Hawaiian people on climate variability and impacts on tribal communities. Principal investigators: Bethany Hale, NOAA Central regional coordinator and Penelope Dalton, Washington Sea Grant at the University of Washington.

• Gulf of Mexico– To present a week-long training session for local government, Sea Grant and NOAA staff on how local communities can adapt to impacts of climate change such as sea level rise, increased flooding and more extreme weather events. Following the workshop, participants will be able to continue collaborations through a discussion forum on the NOAA Coastal Storms web site. Principal investigators: Buck Sutter, NOAA Gulf of Mexico regional Team leader; Karl Havens, Florida Sea Grant College Program at the University of Florida; and LaDon Swann, Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium.

• North Atlantic – To establish a regional network of “climate ambassadors” through training for staff of NOAA’s North Atlantic Regional Team and Sea Grant extension agents. Sessions will cover the latest science as well as climate information and tools available from NOAA. The initial trainees will hold local training sessions in their home states. Principal investigators: Peyton Robertson, NOAA North Atlantic Regional Team leader and Sylvain De Guise, Connecticut Sea Grant College Program at the University of Connecticut.

• Pacific Islands – To prepare a Pacific Climate Change Impacts Resources Guide. Funding supports production of two stand-alone chapters of the guide planned for educators. The guide is for use in a larger effort of climate outreach and education activities. Principal investigators: Darren Okimoto, University of Hawaii Sea Grant; Eileen Shea and Lynn Nakagawa, NOAA Integrated Data and Environmental Applications Center/Pacific; and James Weyman, NOAA National Weather Service Climate Information System.

• Southeast and Caribbean – To establish a regional network of climate extension and outreach professionals and strengthen the network’s ability to provide information, tools, and assistance related to climate change impacts and adaptation. This project will bring extension and outreach personnel together to share information and will maintain a network for on-going communication. Principal investigators: Charles Hopkinson, Georgia Sea Grant Program at the University of Georgia; Jessica Whitehead, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium; Stephanie Fauver, NOAA Coastal Services Center in Charleston, South Carolina; and Geno Olmi, NOAA Southeast and Caribbean regional coordinator.

• Western – To present a workshop to engage recreational fishers, resource managers, scientists, and environmentalists in assessing and planning for climate change impacts on West Coast fisheries. The workshop will be the first step toward implementing a climate change plan for west coast fisheries. Principal investigators: John Stein, NOAA Western Regional Team leader and Penelope Dalton, Washington Sea Grant at the University of Washington.

The Climate Engagement Mini-Grant Program is modeled after the NOAA Stakeholder Engagement Mini-Grant program, which distributed grants in 2009 to fund regional pilot projects engaging communities in issues of interest to both NOAA and local residents. The goal of the new program is to leverage NOAA and Sea Grant resources to help coastal communities adapt to climate change.

Sea Grant is a nationwide network of 32 university-based programs that work with coastal communities. The National Sea Grant College Program engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training, and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.

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