News and Events

Position Opening: Seasonal Educator

Through: Michigan State University Extension

Location: Lake Erie Metropark, Lake St. Clair Metropark

Contact: Steve Stewart
Michigan Sea Grant Extension
21885 Dunham Road, Suite 12
Clinton Township, MI 48036
Phone: (586) 469‐7431
Fax: (586) 469‐6948

Closing Date: Until filled.

This is an experiential education position for an individual to work with the Great Lakes Education Program (GLEP) and Summer Discovery Cruises (SDC) in Southeast Michigan. The individual will work under the supervision of the Senior District Extension Sea Grant Educator. Primary responsibility will be vessel–based education during the Spring and Fall Great Lakes Education Program season, as well as our Summer Discovery Cruise season.

Responsible with other GLEP/SDC staff for conducting varied hands‐on learning activities aboard the schoolship. Work week for GLEP is Monday–Friday. Work week for SDC is five days, including weekends. Work may also include general duties supplemental to GLEP/SDC, such as greeting the public, maintenance, exhibit preparation assistance, and other duties assigned. Duties may also include some general youth education program work.

Bachelor’s Degree in biology, education or related field required. Must have good communication and presentation skills. Aquatic science or natural history background desired. Previous interpretive work or fieldwork preferred. Boating experience preferred. Must love working outdoors.

$11.22 per hour, benefits are not included.

Federal Funding Opportunity: NOAA Sea Grant Aquaculture Research Program, 2016

Funding Opportunity Description: Depending on the availability of funds, NOAA Sea Grant expects to have up to $3,000,000 available for a national competition to fund new FY 2016 aquaculture research projects. This is part of the overall plan to support the development of environmentally and economically sustainable ocean, coastal, or Great Lakes aquaculture. Topical priorities for this FY 2016 competition are, briefly: a) Research to inform pending, regulatory decisions regarding aquaculture on the local, state, or federal level leading to an information product—such as tool, technology, template, or model—needed to make final decisions on a specific question; b) Research that supports the introduction, and/or increase in production of new and emerging species of aquaculture interest; c) Research that supports continued seafood safety and product quality; and d) Social and/or economic research targeted to understand aquaculture issues in a larger context. Applicants must describe how their proposed work will rapidly and significantly advance U.S. aquaculture development in the short term (1-2 years after project completion).

Eligibility: Institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, commercial organizations, State, local and Indian tribal governments are eligible. Federal agencies and their personnel are not permitted to receive federal funding under this competition; however, federal scientists can serve as uncompensated partners or co-Principal Investigators on proposals. Directors of the state Sea Grant Programs are not eligible to compete for funds under this announcement.

Deadlines: Pre-proposals must be received by electronic mail to the National Sea Grant Office by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on March 10, 2016.

Full Proposals are due from applicants to the state Sea Grant Program by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on May 12, 2016.

For more details, this announcement can be found by searching for Federal Opportunity Number: NOAA-OAR-SG-2016-2004807; Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 11.417, Sea Grant Support.

Contact: April N. Croxton, Ph.D.
Aquaculture Specialist
National Sea Grant Program
(301) 734-1073

Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail: People, fish and fishing

Celebrate and experience our Great Lakes fisheries heritage while traveling Michigan

From lighthouses to shipwrecks, Michigan is rich in maritime heritage tradition. Great Lakes fisheries – fish and people who fish – have significantly benefited coastal communities, the Great Lakes region and the nation throughout history and still today. Ecologically, economically and recreationally valuable, Great Lakes fisheries have supported people and communities for generations. Great Lakes fish and fishing – tribal, commercial, and recreational – have shaped the culture, economy, and quality of life for people in Michigan.

A new Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail offers opportunity to explore the past, present and future of the lakes through the lens of fish and fishing. Museum exhibits and educational opportunities, events and experiences along this trail highlight our fisheries heritage, ecology, management, and the economic and social issues that have defined Michigan’s coastal communities.

Valued Great Lakes fisheries:

Of national significance, the Great Lakes encompass more than 11,000 miles of shoreline and contain about 20 percent of world’s surface freshwater. The lakes are home to a diversity of Great Lakes fish species valued for their food and recreational contributions, ecological and economic significance.

  • Food – close to 150 million pounds of Great Lakes fish were harvested annually at the turn of the twentieth century; these fish were consumed locally and also preserved by salt and ice to be shipped by boat, train and truck to help feed the growing populations across the country. Today, nearly 50 million pounds of fish are sustainably harvested for food.
  • Fun – 1.8 million U.S. anglers enjoy fishing recreationally in Great Lakes waters today. With Michigan bordering four of the lakes, it comes as no surprise that fisheries contribute greatly to recreational tourism from coast to coast.
  • Economy – Great Lakes fisheries contribute $4 billion to $7 billion in economic value annually through fishing-related sales, commercial and charter fishing, community tournaments and coastal tourism.
  • Ecology – at least 179 species of fish contribute to biodiversity and healthy Great Lakes ecosystems; and many ecological issues of the past, from water quality to invasive species introductions, remain as relevant and important today.

Explore the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail

The Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail network represents a partnership among museum, maritime heritage, and fisheries partners cooperating across Michigan to promote our fisheries heritage. The collective efforts of these partners is helping to preserve and interpret historical artifacts, enhancing local communities and heritage-based tourism, and offering educational opportunities focusing on Great Lakes literacy and stewardship.Poster showing locations on Michigan map

The trail includes museums, coastal fishing communities, fish markets and processing facilities, events, research and science centers throughout Michigan. Visitors are offered unique opportunities to explore the dynamic social, technological and environmental changes that have shaped today’s fisheries. View an interactive map of Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail sites online.

Want to learn more about our Great Lakes fisheries heritage? In future articles, we will explore the fisheries heritage stories as told through the partners and places located along the trail. A Michigan Sea Grant publication The Life of the Lakes: A Guide to the Great Lakes Fishery also offers a more in-depth look at the this diverse, dynamic and valuable Great lakes fishery, exploring: Ecology and Management, Today’s Great Lakes Fisheries, History of the Great Lakes Fisheries and the Future of these resources.

This entry was posted in News.

Lessons Learned: Fish Spawning Reef Restoration

Event Date: 3/9/2016

unnamedMany Great Lakes fish species, including lake sturgeon, walleye, white fish and cisco, migrate to rocky areas to deposit and fertilize their eggs. However, in many systems spawning habitat has been degraded due to sedimentation, destroyed during the construction of shipping channels, or made inaccessible by barriers. Constructed spawning reefs – essentially beds of loose rock placed on a river or lake bottom – is one method of restoring lost fish habitat. In 2001, a diverse team came together to test and study strategies for creating fish spawning reefs in the St. Clair–Detroit River System. By applying an adaptive management process through a series of reef restoration projects, the team has improved its strategies for designing, building and monitoring projects and for facilitating an effective planning process. Key lessons have been summarized in a recent practitioner-oriented report.

This webinar will share lessons learned about adaptive management, stakeholder engagement, reef design and project monitoring. Members of the reef restoration team will discuss their distinct roles and share both challenges and strategies for achieving desired restoration outcomes. This webinar is co-sponsored by two reef project funders, the NOAA Restoration Center and Sustain Our Great Lakes, and representatives from these organizations will be available for questions.

Presenters will include:

  • Jennifer Read, PhD
    Director, University of Michigan Water Center
  • Mary Bohling
    Extension Educator, Michigan Sea Grant
  • Rachel Echtinaw, PE
    Civil Engineer, SmithGroupJJR
  • James Boase
    Fisheries Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The webinar will begin at 11 AM Eastern Time/10 AM Central Time and last for approximately 1 hour, with opportunities for questions and discussion.

Participants can register by clicking here.

A recording of the webinar will be available for viewing at following the conclusion of the live program.

Todd Hogrefe, National Fish & Wildlife Foundation
(612) 564-7286

Sustain Our Great Lakes is a bi-national, public-private partnership that sustains, restores and protects fish, wildlife and habitat in the Great Lakes basin by leveraging funding, building conservation capacity, and focusing partners and resources toward key ecological issues.

St. Clair – Detroit River System Initiative Annual Meeting

Event Date: 2/11/2016

Establishing Priority Indicators for Coordinated Action 2016-2023

February 11, 2016

Wayne County Community College, Downriver Campus
21000 Northline Road
Taylor, Michigan

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. EST. Registration opens at 8:00 a.m.

Registration in now open for the 2016 SCDRS Annual Meeting! Registration will be open until COB February 5. The fee this year is $45.

Agenda topics include:

  • Steering, Science & Monitoring and Communications Committee updates
  • Themed updates (Fisheries, Habitat, AIS, AOCs, Nutrients and Societal Satisfaction)
  • Two rounds of breakout sessions on draft SCDRS Indicators to track progress in the SCDRS

A block of rooms are on hold for Feb 10–11 for $85 under the St. Clair – Detroit River System Initiative at the Comfort Suites.

Thank you to this year’s sponsors:  ECT, Inc., DTE Energy, and SmithGroupJJR!  If your organization is interested in being a sponsor of the SCDRS Initiative, please contact Mary Bohling.

Additional questions?

Michelle Selzer
SCDRS Communication Subcommittee Chair
Lake Erie Coordinator
Michigan Office of the Great Lakes
(517) 284-5050

Great Lakes Conference – Michigan’s Water Heritage

Event Date: 3/8/2016

“The Great Lakes: Michigan’s Water Heritage” 26th annual conference to focus on state’s draft 30-Year Water Strategy as well as current issues, opportunities and challenges.

Michigan State University will host the 26th annual Great Lakes Conference as part of ANR Week, 9 a.m.-4 p.m Tuesday, March 8, 2016, on campus at the Kellogg Center.

The Great Lakes are an incredible resource and as such offer tremendous opportunities for the future while facing significant challenges in the present. This year’s conference will featureMichigan’s draft water strategy, a “30-year strategy to ensure Michigan’s water resources support healthy ecosystems, citizens, communities, and economies.” In addition to an overview of the water strategy, it will offer presentations ranging from sturgeon restoration, aquaculture, water trails, and harmful algal blooms to ecosystem-level changes in the Great Lakes, efforts to reduce E. Coli, and minimizing impacts of water use by craft beer breweries.

Workshop presentations include:

  • Michigan’s 30 year Water Strategy – Jon Allan, director, Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Lansing
  • Ecosystem-level changes in the Great Lakes and Effects on Fisheries – David “Bo” Bunnell, research fish biologist,USGS Great Lakes Science Center, Ann Arbor.
  • Lake Sturgeon Restoration in the Great Lakes – Jim Boase, fish biologist, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Waterford.
  • Targets for Lake Erie for HAB Reduction– Craig Stow, NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, Ann Arbor.
  • Aquaculture in Michigan – Future Directions and Challenges – Jim Diana, director, Michigan Sea Grant College Program, professor of fisheries and aquaculture, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
  • Statewide Efforts to Reduce E. coli in Surface Waters– Molly Rippke, senior aquatic biologist, Department of Environmental Quality, Water Resources Division, Lansing.
  • Water Trails and a Photo Exploration of the Great Lakes – Stephen Brede, Great Lakes Canoe, Petoskey.
  • Water Use and Craft Beer Breweries: Minimizing Impacts – Kris Spaulding, sustainability director, Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids.

The conference is free and open to the public; however, advance online registration is requested by March 4, 2016.

The conference is sponsored by the MSU Department of Fisheries and Wildlife; MSU Institute of Water Research, Michigan State University Extension; Michigan Sea Grant; Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality; and US Geological Survey.

A History of Wetlands in Michigan

Lake St. Clair Metropark, frog

Coastal wetlands are among the most biologically productive ecosystems in the world, supporting an incredible variety of species. However, for many decades wetlands were viewed as blight on the landscape – dangerous wastelands filled with disease. This three-part series explores the historic role of wetlands in Michigan and more contemporary understandings of the full benefits wetlands provide to both human and natural communities. Part One and Part Two outline the ecological and economic benefits that wetlands bring to Michigan. Part Three discusses the history of land use change in Michigan and how these trends have shaped the state of wetlands today.

Three-part series:

Exploring place-based education from the student perspective

15-206 Place Based Education Report-1Michigan Sea Grant and NE MI GLSI share a new report that explores place-based education from the perspective of the students involved.

In addition, the case studies exhibit place-based education across a range of learning landscapes, from in-school elementary, middle, and high school examples to a summer natural resources science camp. Important in reviewing these case studies is the attention paid to place-based education as a learning process from the students’ perspective, as well as the experiences and values of the educators and youth engaged in this learning process.

The NE MI GLSI strives to promote principles and applied place-based education practices among a network of schools and community partners invested in positive youth development across the region. Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University Extension provide leadership for this initiative in northeast Michigan. In the context of a broader statewide Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative network, this work is accomplished through three strategic pillars of focus – fostering school-community partnerships, supporting schools and educators, and engaging youth in hands-on, place-focused learning.

This report serves as both an evaluation of NE MI GLSI place-based programs in Alpena, illustrated by Great Lakes-focused “Our Rivers, Our Future” projects, and as a guide for teachers, administrators, parents, and community partners interested in learning more about the opportunities that place-based education presents. Because the report focuses on students’ opinions and perceptions of PBE, it complements existing research, which often ignores the student perspective. The report’s ultimate goal is to highlight the validity of students’ opinions and analyses in evaluating all types of in-school programs, particularly place-based education. When teachers listen to students’ voices and use this information to inform their lesson plans, students will be more engaged and will feel like valued partners in their own educational journeys.

Reflected in case studies presented here are the efforts of students monitoring water quality, adopting public Lake Huron beaches, promoting Great Lakes fisheries, and interviewing local fisherman to help promote coastal tourism and interpret an historic Great Lakes commercial fishing boat. These students are promoting biodiversity conservation, monitoring aquatic invasive species, and removing invasive buckthorn plants as part of a habitat restoration effort in their schoolyard nature area. A goal of place-based education is to enhance the student learning experience, and there is little argument that these students provide important environmental stewardship and community development services as they learn and engage in PBE.

From a student perspective, this evaluation identifies four consistent principles that youth value as part of a place-based education experience. Place-based learning should be fun and engaging, applicable and relevant (hands-on, real-world), and rich with opportunities to contribute to the community and explore future career possibilities. Place-based education provides a framework and strategy by which these ideas can be meaningfully considered and incorporated as part of the learning experience. Students recognize that these principles give the most value, purpose, and meaning to their learning experiences.

The promise of place-based education efforts in northeast Michigan has been engaging youth in Great Lakes and natural resource stewardship opportunities to enhance learning and make a difference in their communities. To that end, the focus of this evaluation was asking students about what they value in their respective place-based education experiences.

Read full report online (PDF)

Preparing for the Future: Clean and Resilient Marinas

Event Date: 1/27/2016
End Date: 1/29/2016

waves IMG_3267-adjusted

Amy Samples will be co-presenting Preparing for the Future: Clean and Resilient Marinas at the 2016 International Marina & Boatyard Conference (IMBC) in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

As the threat from more frequent and stronger storms, sea level rise and fluctuating water levels increases, marinas become more vulnerable to damage. What can marinas do today to make them more resilient in the face of these threats?

Presenters will talk about what resiliency includes, and what marinas can and should be doing to increase their resiliency in the face of weather and climate threats. The Clean and Resilient Marina Initiative from the Gulf Coast and best practices from East Coast and Great Lakes Clean Marina programs will be featured.

Examples will be shared from facilities that have embraced resilient activities and construction. Participants will learn more about existing programs, best practices and how preparing for the future is good for the marina industry.


  • Brenda Leonard, Office of Sustainable Initiatives – Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Session Facilitator
  • Suzi DuRant, Executive Director at National Marine Manufacturers Association South Carolina
  • Amy Samples, Michigan Sea Grant


To register and learn more about the International Marina & Boatyard Conference in Florida, visit the website.