Investigating Coastal Issues

Michigan Sea Grant supports research teams that study an array of issues affecting the Great Lakes and Michigan’s coastal areas. Research projects focus on complex environmental challenges and meeting and anticipating changing needs of stakeholders and decision-makers. The goal of the MSG research program is to provide science-based information for real-life situations.

Integrated Research Teams

Outreach and collaboration are essential components of each research project. Researchers regularly consult with decision-makers to ensure that current needs and feasible solutions are addressed. With long-standing community relationships, Sea Grant Extension and communication specialists help researchers connect key aspects of research projects to stakeholders as well as communicate project goals and results.

Previous research projects have focused on:

  • Economic development and coastal tourism
  • Wind energy development options
  • Stormwater runoff
  • Impacts to shoreline habitats
  • Fish contaminants and consumption advisories

To read about research projects underway, see: Current Projects

Research Approach

Michigan Sea Grant supports research teams that follow an Integrated Assessment approach. Projects synthesize existing natural and social scientific information in the context of a policy or management question. The goal is to develop information, create tools and build partnerships that will improve decision making for particularly challenging coastal issues in the state.

To learn more, see: Integrated Assessment Approach

Carrying Out Research

Michigan Sea Grant also seeks out research opportunities and partnerships that align with program goals. For example, the program recently received grant money to pursue several projects under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Michigan Sea Grant was awarded more than $1.5 million to help restore particular areas in the region and is leading two projects while assisting on five others. The projects focus on endangered fish, invasive species, beach contamination, water pollution and sound boating and marina operations.

To learn more, see: Restoration and GLRI Projects

2013 Request for Proposals

The 2013 Request for Proposals is now closed with funding to be announced in late 2013 and awarded in early 2014. Our next RFP is expected to be released in January 2015.

  • Learn more about the 2013 call for funding at the RFP page

Sign up for RFP updates

Featured Publications


“The project did a good job of narrowing down to the questions that really mattered… [The report] helps inform future ideas, thoughts and decisions.” – Rose Ellison, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

“The researchers used their expertise to determine what might be the best solutions for our community. This tailored approach was really useful.” – John Nash, Spring Lake Township Supervisor