December 2017

2017 has been a tumultuous year for many, and the Great Lakes region was no exception. Mid-Michigan communities experienced severe flooding. Federal funding cuts loomed over Sea Grant programs and Great Lakes restoration projects. Invasive carp probed Lake Michigan’s defenses.

But in the face of uncertainty, Great Lakes communities rise to the challenge. Though federal budgets are still in flux, countless champions have spoken up to support vital funding initiatives that protect and strengthen our Great Lakes resources. Small towns have dried themselves out and rebuilt. And the conversation about halting the movement of invasive species continues to gain momentum.

Join us as we close out 2017 and look forward to a strong, resilient 2018!

Happy holidays from Michigan Sea Grant!

Many thanks to Mark Breederland for this striking photograph, taken in Leelenau County.

Watercolors in the woods

Todd explored the park by bicycle, foot, and paddle. Photo: Todd Marsee

Surrounded by the hues and textures of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, how could an artist leave unchanged? Todd Marsee certainly didn’t.

This fall, Michigan Sea Grant’s graphic designer, Todd Marsee, spent three weeks at a cabin in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore as the park’s Artist in Residence.

An award-winning watercolor artist, Todd spent most of his residency painting, hiking, and getting to know park employees and volunteers. “Rather than spending all my time driving or hiking to particular destinations, I decided to stay closer to the cabin. Some of my new-found favorite spots were Hurricane River, Twelve-Mile Beach, and Au Sable Dunes, which were between 5 and 15 minutes away from the cabin.”

As he explored the shoreline, Todd kept his camera close at hand, adding 1,200 new photographs and several video clips to Michigan Sea Grant’s image collection. He also contributed a post to Freshwater Feasts, Michigan Sea Grant’s cooking blog, with a mouth-watering recipe for U.S.-caught lake whitefish with pesto and local oyster mushrooms.

“If I had to choose one main influence that this time at Pictured Rocks had on my art,” says Todd, “it would be color. I spent a lot of time watching sunsets. The rocks along the beach were also so diverse and colorful. The colors in my recent paintings are more vibrant than in the pieces I painted earlier this year.”

Pictured Rocks provides a full palette of colors and textures. Photo: Todd Marsee

Todd calls his limited internet access and cell phone coverage “the biggest gift of all.” Without these distractions, he says, “the residency gave me the time, space, and focus to work diligently.”

On September 20, he treated park visitors to a painting demonstration near Miners Castle. Todd produced nearly two dozen paintings during his residency and received media coverage from several news outlets, including Munising News, The Mining Journal, and The University Record. Todd donated a painting to the park in exchange for the park’s hospitality.

Check out Todd’s art blog for his Upper Peninsula dispatches and to see examples of his work.

The park’s vibrant hues have already influenced Todd’s art. Photo: Todd Marsee

Fellowship applications now open

Michigan Sea Grant is seeking applicants for several fellowship programs. These fellowships offer career-building and networking opportunities, real-world training, salary and benefits, and a chance to explore careers where science and policy meet.

Graduate students with a wide range of backgrounds and a strong interest in Great Lakes, coastal, or marine issues are encouraged to apply. Programs require a full-time commitment, and most, but not all, fellows participate after completing their graduate programs.

Applications currently open include:

  • Great Lakes Commission — Sea Grant Fellowship (due Feb. 16, 2018)
  • John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship (due Feb. 23, 2018)
  • NOAA Coastal Management Fellowship (due Jan. 19, 2018)
  • National Marine Fisheries Service — Sea Grant Fellowship (due Jan. 26, 2018)

Learn more about these opportunities and how to apply.

Sea Grant partner receives Key Partner Award

From left: Michigan Sea Grant’s Heather Triezenberg, SEMCOG’s Kevin Vettraino, Bill Parkus, Amy Mangus, Tyler Klifman, Devan Rostorfer, and Michigan Sea Grant’s Mary Bohling. Photo: Cindy Hudson, Michigan Sea Grant

We love to see groups we work with receive awards! Recently the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) was honored by Michigan State University Extension with a 2017 Key Partner Award.

The regional planning partnership of governmental units serves the seven-county area surrounding metropolitan Detroit. SEMCOG’s mission is to help local governments improve and maintain transportation systems, environmental quality, economic interests, and infrastructure —  a purpose that complements the work of Michigan Sea Grant.

The group’s environmental team, led by Amy Mangus, has partnered with Michigan Sea Grant Extension for more than 15 years on a variety of programs and projects, including invasive species management, blue-green economy, non-motorized transportation, and green infrastructure code audits. SEMCOG’s participation has been critical in helping Michigan Sea Grant reach its target audience. The organization has also worked with many other Extension groups and programs.

We appreciate the dedication, enthusiasm, and assistance of the SEMCOG leadership and staff and thank them for being an excellent Key Partner with Michigan Sea Grant.

Michigan’s Knauss fellows emerge from Placement Week

Lisa Peterson (left) and Janet Hsiao (right) will begin their Knauss fellowships in February 2018.

“I have yet to process the whirlwind that is Placement Week,” says Janet Hsiao, one of Michigan’s two incoming Knauss fellows. Starting in February 2018, Janet will be the ocean observing fellow with the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research in the Climate Program Office. Read more about Janet’s Placement Week experience, fellowship plans, and hidden musical talents in her Q&A on the Michigan Sea Grant fellowship blog.

Michigan’s second Knauss fellow, Lisa Peterson, will join the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service in the Office of Science and Technology as the fisheries electronic technologies coordinator. Read about her background and fellowship in an upcoming Q&A article.

New video highlights NOAA in the Great Lakes

At Michigan Sea Grant, we are proud to be one of NOAA’s many initiatives in the Great Lakes region. Watch this video to learn more about NOAA in the Great Lakes.

Learn more about the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network at:

From Maryland to Oregon: Two weeks at Sea Grant Academy

Sea Grant Academy participants hammed it up at their October 2017 graduation ceremony. Photo: Jamie Doyle, Oregon Sea Grant

When 40 newly minted Sea Grant employees get together for two weeks, something exciting is bound to happen.

The biannual Sea Grant Academy brings together Sea Grant staff who are in their first few months or years of working within the network. The program includes two five-day sessions designed to foster new collaborations, develop leadership skills, highlight the diverse structures and programs across the Sea Grant network, and give new employees a sense of ownership within the organization.

The 2017 Sea Grant Academy was hosted by Oregon Sea Grant, who held a March session in Annapolis, Maryland, and an October session in Astoria, Oregon. Participants came from as far away as Guam, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Vermont and represented a full spectrum of job roles and focus areas.

Extension Educator Elliot Nelson, Extension Program Communications Manager Cindy Hudson, and Communications Editor Geneva Langeland represented Michigan Sea Grant at this year’s gatherings.

“Attending Sea Grant Academy gave me a greater appreciation for the unique programs and impacts that are happening around our nation,” says Cindy. “The experience made me even more proud of the many impacts and accomplishments that I see Michigan Sea Grant achieving.”

During the two sessions, participants worked on program-level objectives, such as designing effective evaluation strategies and incorporating social science into research programs.

They also looked inward, aiming to better understand their own roles within the network. “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to goal-setting or leadership style,” says Geneva. “Thinking deeply about my personal strengths and tendencies — as well as how I manage conflict — has already given me fresh tools for being a more effective worker and leader.”

Academy participants also enjoyed several field trips, including a tour of Oregon’s Cannon Beach and a visit to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., where Sea Grant staff taught visitors to the Sant Ocean Hall about coastal issues, such as marine debris and aquatic invasive species.

Sea Grant staff from Florida, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin teamed up to teach Smithsonian visitors about aquatic invasive species. Photo: Jamie Doyle, Oregon Sea Grant

Institute teaches community-engaged research and outreach skills

The Michigan Sea Grant Extension Community-Engaged Research Institute met during the summer at the Bengal Wildlife Center in Bath, Michigan. Photo: Michigan Sea Grant Extension

Earlier this year, students and early-career scientists in the natural resources field met with outreach and engagement professionals to discuss the nuts and bolts of creating partnerships, communicating effectively, and engaging audiences.

The Michigan Sea Grant Extension Community-Engaged Research Institute provides Sea Grant graduate students, fellows, and partners an opportunity to learn about connecting their research with decision making through outreach and engagement.

“Students often believe that as long as they present research and facts, stakeholders and decision makers will base decisions and actions on those facts,” says Heather Triezenberg, Michigan Sea Grant Extension program leader and institute lead. “The reality is much more complicated.”

Heather notes that the next generation of natural resource professionals must be able to apply scientific information to inform decision making on issues that stakeholders care about. To that end, the institute teaches participants about conducting research and scholarship in partnership with a wide variety of stakeholders and provides outreach and communication training so findings can be used by policy makers and other stakeholders.

Michigan Sea Grant plans to hold additional institutes and build a network of Sea Grant community-engaged practitioners and researchers. Partners for this inaugural program included Wisconsin Sea Grant, Michigan State University Outreach and Engagement, University of Michigan, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Submit an abstract for the National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium

The National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium provides a forum for stakeholders from across the U.S. to connect and showcase innovative, successful, and timely solutions to waterfront and waterway issues. Michigan Sea Grant will host the 2018 symposium in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on May 14-17. Are you interested in proposing a presentation, panel, or discussion session for the symposium? Abstracts are due by January 19, 2018. Information about the conference, including guidelines for submitting an abstract, can be found at:

Coastal communities like Leeland, MI, rely heavily on waterfront infrastructure for commerce and recreation. Photo: Mark Breederland, Michigan Sea Grant

From Extension

Michigan Sea Grant Extension educators write informative articles on a variety of subjects — from dedicated community partners to vital species databases. Below are some of their articles from the past few months.

MSU professor seeks crowdfunding support for Great Lakes fish diet research

By Dan O’Keefe

Donations support student researchers analyzing fish stomach samples from Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.

Read more

Are Great Lakes water levels headed up in 2018?

By Mark Breederland

Fall 2017 was a very wet season for the Great Lakes.

Read more


MSU professor provides expert testimony on fisheries science for U.S. Congress

By Heather Triezenberg

Testimony highlighted sea lamprey control and Lake Erie fisheries as positive examples from Great Lakes region.

Read more

Teachers can take to the sea with NOAA

By Steve Stewart

For more than 25 years, teachers have sailed aboard NOAA research vessels.

Read more


New partnership will enhance important Great Lakes database on non-native species

By Heather Triezenberg

Michigan Sea Grant’s Rochelle Sturtevant will be program manager at GLANSIS.

Read more