Mission and vision

Michigan’s Great Lakes coasts are not just beautiful — they are dynamic ecosystems home to many species of fish, birds, plants, and other wildlife in a wide variety of habitat types. A large boating community, commercial and recreational fisheries, and rapid development along Michigan’s coasts all present opportunities and challenges for the ecosystem. Michigan Sea Grant works to keep balance in the Great Lakes by supporting research, education, and outreach.

Charrette Visioning Design research project


Michigan Sea Grant supports research, outreach, and education to enhance sustainable use of Great Lakes resources, benefiting the environment, the quality of life, and the Michigan, Great Lakes, and national economy.

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse


Our vision is healthy and sustainable Great Lakes resources achieved through an integrated program that engages universities and public and private sectors.

Operating principles

  • Strategic input and feedback: Michigan Sea Grant routinely seeks input and feedback from external advisers. The program uses both formal and informal advisory structures that are program-based, agent-based, or issue-based. The primary source of formal advice is the advisory committee; however, advisory groups are also formed for specific program and project needs.
  • Open competition and peer review: Support for research is available to all qualified, university-based researchers in Michigan. Every two years, Michigan Sea Grant solicits proposals relevant to our strategic plan. Projects are selected for funding based on rigorous peer-review and ranking by a panel of independent scientific and technical experts.
  • Build consensus: Michigan Sea Grant interacts with a broad range of Great Lakes stakeholders. Because of the complexity of issues that surround coastal resources, stakeholders sometimes disagree. Sea Grant specialists work to bring these groups together to find common ground. An engaged constituency that puts aside individual interests while working on common goals is more effective.
  • Include everyone: Michigan Sea Grant recognizes the need to have its programs represent and reach all Michigan citizens. To this end, research, outreach, and education programs make special efforts to include non-traditional audiences.

Commitment to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion

Michigan Sea Grant is committed to justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion in both our organization and the communities we serve. We believe all people have the right to live and work in a healthy and safe environment, and we seek to eliminate disparities in access to natural resources, opportunities, and decision-making processes. We recognize that issues related to the natural and human-shaped environment affect everyone, though they do not affect everyone equally. At Michigan Sea Grant, we work to create equitable access to resources and opportunities for Michigan’s diverse communities and seek to incorporate their voices and priorities into our work. Our values are informed by environmental justice and are based in a culture of inclusion, respect, long-term engagement, and accountability.

Our commitment to justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion shapes our organization and its investments, practices, interactions, and daily work. Specifically, we strive to:

  • Create a welcoming environment, so each person in and around our organization feels
    accepted, valued, and safe.
  • Learn from each other, honoring differences in background, experience, skills, interests,
    beliefs, and values.
  • Nurture an atmosphere that encourages open, honest, and respectful dialogue.
  • Expand access to and opportunities of success with our research grants, fellowships, and internships to include underrepresented and non-traditional groups and individuals.

Michigan Sea Grant programs and materials are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran status. We commit to providing accessible free or reduced-cost programming to diverse audiences.

As the staff of Michigan Sea Grant, we acknowledge that we occupy the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary lands of the Anishinaabeg — Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi peoples. We live, work, and play on lands obtained, generally through violence and deceit, from Indigenous people. Acknowledging this history does not change the past, but a thorough understanding of its ongoing unjust consequences can empower us to create a future that supports human flourishing and justice for all. We recognize, support, and honor the sovereignty of Michigan’s twelve federally recognized tribal nations, Indigenous individuals and communities who live here now, and those who were forcibly removed from their homelands. By offering this land acknowledgement, we affirm Indigenous sovereignty and work to hold ourselves and others accountable to the needs of American Indian and Indigenous peoples.