News and Events

Request for Proposals: Great Lakes Clean Marina Network

Event Date: 4/17/2017

Michigan Sea Grant, as co-coordinator of the Great Lakes Clean Marina Network, is soliciting proposals for projects supporting Great Lakes Clean Marina Programs in 2017. Michigan Sea Grant anticipates awarding two grants with $5,000 as the maximum annual funding allowance per grant. The projects will run for up to one year, to be completed by April 30, 2018.

This request for proposals is open to all eight Great Lakes states of the Great Lakes Clean Marina Network (IL, IN, MI, MN, NY, OH, PA, WI). The network’s mission is to ensure that quality of life, economic prosperity, and environmental quality are achieved in the Great Lakes region by increasing participation in Clean Marina efforts.

This request for proposals focuses on two categories: 1) projects to expand the territory for Clean Marina certification within the Great Lakes Basin, or 2) projects that evaluate and/or support Clean Marina Program sustainability.

See: Funding Opportunities

In life, ivory gull draws crowd—and in death, will contribute to science

A rare arctic visitor brings birders to Flint, may be used by scientist to help better understand the species.

This ivory gull was present along the Flint River from March 9-13, 2017. The gull died on March 13. Photo: Andrew Simon Photo below of ivory gull flying taken by Darlene Friedman.

This ivory gull was present along the Flint River from March 9-13, 2017. The gull died on March 13. Photo: Andrew Simon Photo below of ivory gull flying taken by Darlene Friedman.

On the evening of March 9, 2017, Lauren LaFave, 16, was walking across a bridge over the Flint River on the campus of the University of Michigan-Flint. LaFave noticed an unusually white bird resting on the bridge and was able to snap a few quick pictures on her phone. After those photos were shared among a number of Facebook groups it was confirmed that the bird photographed was, in fact, one of the rarest birds in all of North America, an ivory gull.

To understand the rarity of finding an ivory gull in downtown Flint, one must understand a bit about the species. The ivory gull is a bird rarely found south of the Arctic Circle. In North America, ivory gulls breed in the high arctic regions of Canada on bare rocks exposed only during the summer months. Unlike most arctic birds that head south for the winter, the ivory gull spends its winters remaining in the arctic. It can be found foraging on pack ice in the Bering Sea as well as the ice edge region between 50°–65° north latitude around Labrador and Greenland. The bird research database Birds of North American Online notes that only 2000-3000 of these birds breed in North America. It is listed in the 2014 State of the Birds report as being a species that will most likely become threatened or endangered unless conservation actions are taken. The species decline is due in part to declining sea ice associated with climate change as well as high mercury levels that accumulate in their tissue.

The bird found in Flint is only the second ivory gull on record in Michigan, and one of only a relatively small number from the lower 48 states. Once the word got out of the bird’s presence, birders from several states and Canadian provinces flocked to see it, with some travelling in from Connecticut and Florida. The birding community was abuzz, and Flint certainly saw a small influx of tourism dollars as a result. Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan Audubon recently hosted a workshop which included highlights on the economic impacts of birding. Birding events like this and other bird-related travel and equipment expenditures are estimated to generate $40 billion a year in the United States.

Ivory gull flying ovef waterTo the anguish of many, the ivory gull was only around for a few short days. Despite its apparent health on March 9-12, the bird fell ill and died on March 13. Wayward birds from the high arctic are often disoriented and malnourished. Many become prey to local predators or succumb to local diseases. While many birders were heartbroken over the loss, some were consoled with the fate of the bird’s body. A few individuals collected the bird and it was quickly preserved and sent to the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology in Ann Arbor. Collection staff from the museum will be performing a full necropsy and will send off tissue samples for analysis to help determine the cause of death. After the necropsy, the museum will add the bird to their collection of bird specimens.

Their collection of ivory gulls from around the globe has already been used in a variety of studies, including a recent study documenting the dramatic increase in mercury levels in ivory gulls. In general, there is still much to learn about the ivory gull as it is one of the least studied gull species in the world. It’s high arctic range makes comprehensive studies of the bird hard to perform. This is, in part, why museum specimens, such as the Flint ivory gull, are extremely important. Thanks to the action of those on the scene of the bird’s death, the Flint ivory gull’s legacy will continue on with the scientific studies it will generate for years to come.

Great Lakes Water Safety 2017 Conference

Event Date: 4/20/2017
End Date: 4/21/2017

Registration is open for water safety conference focused on ending drownings in the Great Lakes

ANN ARBOR, MI – Drownings in the Great Lakes were up 78 percent last year over the previous year. The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium (GLWSC) is committed to ending drowning in the Great Lakes through collaboration, education, and action. The consortium will host the Great Lakes Water Safety 2017 Conference April 20-21 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Presenters include first responders, wave and current research scientists, meteorologists, lifeguards, and other water safety experts and advocates from around the Great Lakes region.

“We know why drownings were up, and we know what we can do to bring them back down,” says Jamie Racklyeft, executive director of the GLWSC and rip current survivor. “Attendees will learn the latest research on dangerous waves and currents and how to avoid, escape, and safely save others from them.”

The conference will feature life-saving demonstrations and the latest drone technology being used to rescue people caught in the grip of rip currents and other dangerous conditions.

Who Should Attend?
Everyone is welcome to attend and learn about ways to end drowning. Parents, community leaders, teachers, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, park rangers, the media – anyone who wants to keep people safe as they enjoy the Great Lakes.

For more information about the conference, for training referrals, or to join the consortium for free, visit:

Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium
Jamie Racklyeft


The Great Lakes Water Safety Consortium is a community of BEST practice, connecting all groups and individuals interested in water safety to maximize our collective knowledge, resources, and actions to END DROWNING in the Great Lakes.

2017 Fisheries Workshops Series

Event Date: 4/4/2017
End Date: 5/24/2017

Michigan Sea Grant, in partnership with fisheries agencies and stakeholder organizations, hosts public information workshops annually. The workshops focus on current research and information related to the regional status of Great Lakes fisheries. These workshops are open to the public and provide valuable information for anglers, charter captains, resource professionals and other interested stakeholders.

If you’re interested in attending a workshop, please register using the information below so the organizers can plan accordingly.

Workshop Schedule

Port Huron
Tuesday, April 4
6–9 p.m.
Charles A. Hammond American Legion Hall, 1026 6th Street, Port Huron, MI 48060
Register Online

Bay City
Wednesday, April 12
6–9 p.m.
Bangor Township Hall, 3921 Wheeler Rd, Bay City, MI 48706
Register Online

Harrison Township
Thursday, April 13
6–9 p.m.
Sportsman’s Direct, 38989 Jefferson Ave, Harrison Township, MI 48045

South Haven 
Thursday, April 20, 2017
7–9:30 p.m.
South Haven Moose Lodge, 1025 Wells St., South Haven, MI 49090

Wednesday, April 26
6–9 p.m.
American Legion Oscoda, 349 S. State Street, Oscoda, MI 48750
Register Online

Thursday, April 27
6–9 p.m.
Clark Township Community Center, 133 E. M-134, Cedarville, MI 49719
Register Online

Wednesday, May 24
6–9 p.m.
Chocolay Township Hall, 5010 US-41, Harvey, MI 49855
Register Online

National Invasive Species Awareness Week series highlights threats Michigan faces

Damage caused by invasive plants alone costs the U.S. estimated at $34.7 billion a year.

The claws of the red swamp crayfish have bright red spiky bumps. Photo: Mike Murphy

The claws of the red swamp crayfish have bright red spiky bumps. Photo: Mike Murphy

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) defines invasive species as non-native, rapidly reproducing species which threaten the integrity of natural areas. Once established in an area, they can have devastating effects. They often out-compete native species for limited resources including food and habitat, alter and damage existing habitat, displace native species, and in some cases prey directly upon native species. Invasive species have been identified as serious threats to global and local biodiversity.

According to the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA), it has been estimated the damage caused by invasive plants alone costs the U.S. an estimated $34.7 billion a year. Despite the profound impacts of invasive species, WSSA believes the key to being able to manage invasives and prevent their spread is awareness.

February 27 to March 3, 2017, is National Invasive Species Awareness Week and the goal is to draw attention to invasive species and what individuals can do to stop the spread and introduction of them. The program’s website lists several events around the country related to invasive species, including meetings in Washington, D.C.

To help bring local awareness to invasive species, Michigan State University Extension  and Michigan Sea Grant will feature an article on a terrestrial or aquatic invasive species each day that have invaded, or pose a potential threat to invade Michigan’s environment.

Additional information about invasive species can be found at the Extension website.

Read the complete 2017 Invasive Species Series:

Michigan Aquaculture Internship Program

Event Date: 4/7/2017

Michigan Sea Grant is offering internship funding to undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career in aquaculture. Students who coordinate with a private, state, or federal hatchery to create a summer internship could receive $5,000 for an internship of at least half-time work. Interested students should submit application materials to a sponsoring faculty member at their home institution.

One student will be selected from each institution and forwarded to Michigan Sea Grant by Friday, March 31, 2017, at 12:00 pm (noon). Final funding decisions will be made at Michigan Sea Grant by April 7, 2017.

Farming for Fish? Webinar will explore how to get started

Event Date: 4/10/2017

Webinar series for beginning farmers includes an overview of this fast-growing business sector.

Aquaculture tanks are shown in a recirculating aquaculture facility. Photo: Todd Marsee | Michigan Sea Grant

Aquaculture tanks are shown in a recirculating aquaculture facility. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant

A Beginning Farmer webinar series taking place throughout winter and spring 2017, seeks to assist farmers across the country with starting up and improving their agricultural practices. This series of nine webinars includes “Getting Started with Aquaculture.” The aquaculture webinar will be held 7-9 p.m. April 10, 2017. The cost is $10 for individual webinars, or $45 for access to the entire series.

Aquaculture, or fish farming, is the fastest growing sector of the seafood industry. While global demand for seafood continues to rise, wild catch of fish has not increased and, in some cases, it has decreased as wild fisheries have been overharvested. Michigan is well suited for aquaculture with its vast water resources and increasing demand for local agriculture products. The aquaculture industry in Michigan is currently less than a $5 million industry. A recent strategic assessment of aquaculture in Michigan states that there is potential for growth up to a $1 billion industry. Aquaculture in Michigan can be a way to supply high quality locally produced products.

The Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension webinar will introduce a variety of subjects for farmers interested in pursuing the innovative farming techniques of aquaculture. Topics covered will include market demand, types of aquaculture systems, aquaculture facilities in Michigan, and what is needed to start your own facility.

Seminar: Fish Spawning Reef Planning Techniques

Event Date: 5/15/2017


This seminar will be held in conjunction with the International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR) 2017 conference in Detroit. You do not need to register for IAGLR to participate.

A number of factors, including construction of shipping channels, land use changes and dams, have degraded rocky fish spawning habitat or made it inaccessible to native, migratory fish. One method for compensating for spawning habitat losses is to construct fish spawning reefs, essentially beds of loose rock placed on the river bottom that provide adequate protection and flow through the rocks for egg incubation. Though simple in concept, reef projects need to be carefully sited and designed to avoid accumulating sediment, attract desired fish and support young fish through the critical early life stages.

This team- taught seminar will share techniques developed through eight reef projects established in the St. Clair and Detroit River System over the past fifteen years. Specific topics will include: site assessment and selection, hydrodynamics and sedimentation concerns, reef design and construction strategies and monitoring of early life stages of fish. In the afternoon, participants will have a choice of two activities, either exploring monitoring equipment or discussing permitting, funding and team coordination issues with agency leaders. This interactive seminar is open to all types of restoration practitioners, including professional engineers, project managers, researchers and anyone hoping to champion, design or monitor a constructed spawning reef in Great Lakes nearshore areas, connecting channels or larger rivers.

Date: Monday, May 15, 2017
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Location: IAGLR’s Great Lakes Research Conference, Cobo Center Room 258, 1 Washington Blvd, Detroit, Michigan
Continuing Education: Seminar participants will receive a certificate showing they completed 7 hours of continuing education suitable for professional license renewals.
Cost: $75 if registering prior to April 24; $85 if registering between April 24 and May 5, 2017
Final registration deadline: 5:00 p.m., May 5, 2017
Cancellation Fees: Registrants who cancel on or before April 24 will receive full refunds. Early registrants who cancel after April 24 and by May 5 will be charged a $50 cancellation fee. No refunds will be issued for cancellations after May 5.

For questions, contact:
Lynn Vaccaro
University of Michigan Water Center
(734) 763-0056

Competitive funding available from NOAA Sea Grant for aquaculture initiatives

NOAA Sea Grant welcomes proposals for two competitive opportunities to advance aquaculture research, address barriers to aquaculture, and expand aquaculture production. Up to $15 million is expected to be available over several years to support projects in two nationwide grant competitions. Learn more about the funding opportunities here or at

Individuals, public or private groups, and state or tribal agencies are welcome to apply through their local Sea Grant program. Interested parties in Michigan should contact Catherine Riseng, Michigan Sea Grant’s research program director, at to discuss the application process.

2017 Michigan Seafood Summit

Event Date: 5/16/2017

seafood summit logoCobo Center, Detroit, MI

The Seafood Summit highlights aquaculture, commercial fisheries, and local seafood in Michigan.

The 2017 summit will be held in conjunction with 60th Annual Conference of The International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR). It will consist of two main sessions and a special Michigan seafood dinner prepared by acclaimed chefs from The Atheneum.

Did you miss last year’s summit? Sign up for updates so you don’t miss out this year.

This entry was posted in Events.