News and Events

Summer Discover Cruises 2015

Event Date: 5/9/2015
End Date: 9/19/2015


The 2015 Summer Discovery Cruises season begins Saturday, June 13! Registration is now open for both individuals and groups. For more cruise details and to register, go to

Favorite cruises from previous seasons will be offered, and some that are being added after a few years off the schedule. Learners will be able to explore the Great Lakes fishery (including the lake sturgeon – the largest fish in the Great Lakes), through the use of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), coastal wetlands, Great Lakes lighthouses, shipwrecks, the Great Lakes’ influence on weather (yes, you can ask National Weather Service scientists about the polar vortex!), how teachers can use Great Lakes science in the classroom, aquatic invasive species, and more.

Evaluations of the Summer Discovery Cruises program have documented positive program outcomes that are both widespread and significant. Data show that 95% of participants felt a greater responsibility for the Great Lakes following their Summer Discovery Cruises experience, 88% sought more information on Great Lakes topics of interest, and 23% engaged in new Great Lakes stewardship activities.

This entry was posted in Events.

Be Current Smart: New Water Safety Campaign


Photo Kurt Byers-Grand Haven Beach Safety waves

Photo: Kurt Byers

With summer just around the corner, millions of swimmers will soon flock to Great Lakes beaches. Rolling waves and light breezes are irresistible on a hot summer day, but waves and currents can be deadly. Sea Grant programs and partners in the Great Lakes region are announcing a new water safety campaign, Be Current Smart. The campaign includes tips for parents to keep a close eye on children while they’re near the water’s edge or in the water, and messages like “when the waves are high, stay dry,” and on the beach.

“Beach-goers can take simple steps to ensure a fun, safe day in the water,” said Todd Breiby, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. “Parents have an important role in keeping a close watch on young children and making sure they are wearing life jackets.”

A key part of the campaign is the announcement of new water safety and emergency rescue equipment being deployed at hundreds of beaches in the Great Lakes region. Working groups in six states have collaborated with local and state officials on specifying and distributing equipment, including ring buoys and U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets for youth.

“First responders in the area are so pleased to get new equipment,” said Mike Molnar, Indiana Coastal Management Program. “With tight budgets, this equipment is coming at the perfect time and will be put to good use.”

Since 2002, dangerous currents, high waves and piers are related to the fatalities of more than 144 swimmers in the region. The Be Current Smart campaign includes a central website with links to animations; a video news release with interviews of U.S. Coast Guard, county sheriffs, and park officials; social media components; and news media resources.

“Throughout the Great Lakes, piers are the most dangerous place for swimmers,” said Matt Warner, Michigan Coastal Management Program. “Swimmers are encouraged to steer clear of piers because of dangerous structural currents.”

The Michigan Coastal Management Program supported the development of a suite of new resources, including beach sign templates, publications, lessons, diagrams and more. All materials are tailored for the Great Lakes region, are free and available for news media, beach communities, park staff, educators and others. See the Current Smart website for information about the campaign, and contacts in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.


The NOAA Storms Program is supporting the Current Smart campaign, as part of the Implementing Dangerous Currents Best Practices project. Led by the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, partners in this effort include state Coastal Management Programs, the NOAA National Weather Service, first responders, park officials and others. • Join the Discussion on Twitter: #currentsmart

Summer Activities on Belle Isle

Event Date: 5/19/2015

Belle Isle Water Trail Event social

Who: Michigan Department of Natural Resources and its partners, Belle Isle vendors, Downriver Linked Greenways Initiative, Metropolitan Affairs Coalition (MAC), Michigan Sea Grant and others.

What: News conference to announce summer activities on Belle Isle State Park and the Detroit River. The event will include announcements regarding vendors on Belle Isle, new kayak launches and the release of the second edition of the Detroit Heritage River Water Trail user guide.

Where: Belle Isle Beach. Parking will be available at the beach parking lot on Belle Isle. In the event of rain, this event will be relocated to picnic shelter 12, across the street from the beach.

A Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry to Belle Isle Park. Additional information about Belle Isle Park and the Recreation Passport on Belle Isle is available at

National Water Trails Forum

Event Date: 6/24/2015
End Date: 6/26/2015

Meet and learn best practices from a network of fellow National Water Trails (NWT) leaders. Plenary and breakout sessions are planned, based on input from NWT volunteers and staff.

You’ll also have an opportunity to discover Southeast Michigan’s scenic water trails with the enthusiasm and expertise of our water trails hosts.

University of Michigan
Michigan League
911 North University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Registration Deadline: June, 19, 2015

Clinton River Water Festival: FieldScope & TGLS Presentation

Event Date: 5/15/2015

Michigan Sea Grant will be presenting to fifth grade students and teachers about how to use FieldScope and Teaching Great Lakes Science. Attendees will learn how it relates to water quality, specifically in the Clinton River Watershed.

The Clinton River Water Festival is an educational and enjoyable learning experience for fifth-grade students from the Clinton River Watershed community schools in Oakland County. The festival design allows students to learn about the central role water and the Clinton River play within the region. Some of the topics that are explored during the festival include: storm water, waste water treatment, soil erosion, wetlands, creeks and streams, habitat, as well as sources of pollution. Several governmental and environmental agencies work with Pre-College Programs to plan and execute the festival at Oakland University.

Register Online

Pentwater Community Design Charrette

Event Date: 4/17/2015
End Date: 4/19/2015

The trend of fluctuating water levels across the Great Lakes, particularly persistent low water levels in the past 10 years, combined with economic downturn have taken their toll on local waterfront communities. In addition, state and federal funding for public harbors is increasingly limited.

A research team funded through Michigan Sea Grant seeks to develop a sustainable small harbor management strategy for Michigan’s coastal communities.

The team is hosting charrettes (facilitated community planning sessions) in New Baltimore, Au Gres, Ontonagon and Pentwater. The communities will undergo a six-month engagement process with the research team. The research team will identify strategies to improve economic, social and environmental sustainability of Michigan’s harbor communities. This charrette will focus on the town of Pentwater.


What: Pentwater Community Design Charrette
When: April 17-19, 2015
Where: Pentwater Yacht Club
205 South Dover Street, Pentwater

Want to Learn More? Event Details


Get Involved!

If your community is interested in learning more about sustainable small harbor planning, please contact the research team. Also, the final toolkit and resources developed through this project will be available in 2016 to help guide planning.

If you would like to be involved or have questions about the project, contact Donald Carpenter at or by calling (248) 204-2549.