The Woods Hole Sea Grant program, based at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), supports research, education, and extension projects that encourage environmental stewardship, long-term economic development, and responsible use of the nation’s coastal and ocean resources. It is part of the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a network of 33 individual programs located in each of the coastal and Great Lakes states. Together, these programs form a national network of over 300 participating institutions involving more than 3,000 scientists, engineers, educators, students, and outreach experts.
Sea Grant’s legislative charge is to “increase the understanding, assessment, development, utilization, and conservation of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources by providing assistance to promote a strong educational base, responsive research and training activities, and broad and prompt dissemination of knowledge and techniques.”
Locally, Sea Grant’s affiliation with WHOI began in 1971 with support for a number of individual research projects. In 1973, WHOI was designated a Coherent Sea Grant Program and, in 1985, was elevated to its current status as an Institutional Sea Grant Program. The Woods Hole Sea Grant Program has made great strides to channel the expertise of world-renowned ocean scientists toward meeting the research and information needs of users of the marine environment. Public and private institutions throughout Massachusetts, and the northeast region, participate in the Woods Hole Sea Grant Program.
The Woods Hole Sea Grant Program began as a Coherent Program in 1973 with a budget of approximately $200,000. Initially a research-based program, it achieved Institutional Program status in 1985, with a balance of research and outreach activities at a level of 60 percent/40 percent, respectively. The program assumed the traditional Sea Grant approach in 1990 when the Marine Advisory, or Extension, component was restructured. An Outreach and Education Program was introduced that same year. Woods Hole Sea Grant operates its extension program through a memorandum of understanding with the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension’s Marine Program. The goal of the CCCE Marine Program is to establish, develop and carry out education programs in marine resource development, to assist with problems concerning coastal industries and the management of coastal resources, and to transfer technological innovations, educational and informational materials to public officials, educators, and marine user groups.
At WHOI, Woods Hole Sea Grant is uniquely positioned to draw upon the Institution’s resources—including world-class research and engineering innovation, and access to privately and publicly funded programs from which to leverage support for Sea Grant’s priority issues. This adds value to the national Sea Grant network, just as Woods Hole Sea Grant adds value to WHOI, through its unique integration of science and outreach activities, the large number of Sea Grant supported-publications (nearly 800 publications since the program’s inception), and the wide range of marine extension services, outreach, and education programs provided locally and regionally.