Sea Grant names three finalists for Extension leader post

Oregon Sea Grant has named three finalists for the post of Sea Grant Extension program leader, being vacated by the retirement of Jay Ramussen. The candidates, who have been invited to the Oregon State University campus in May for interviews and public presentations, are:

  • Professor Conner Bailey,  Department of Agriculture and Rural Sociology,  Auburn University
  • Dr. Tom DeGomez, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson
  • James Humphreys, Fisheries Director, Americas for the Marine Stewardship Council, Seattle, Washington

Details about the candidates and their interview schedules are  posted on the Sea Grant Web site . We hope to offer an online video feed of their public presentations for those unable to attend; when the video links are available, they will be listed there as well.

Ramussen, who has served as the program’s Associate Director as well as leading a 17-member Sea Grant Extension team since 1996,  formally retired earlier this year but has been serving on an interim basis until his successor is named. Earlier this month, he was the recipient of OSU Extension’s Alberta Johnson award for exemplary leadership.

Sea Grant Extension is the public outreach and engagement arm of Oregon Sea Grant, bringing the resources of research and higher education to bear on real-world issues important to those who live near, earn their livelihoods from, and care about the state’s ocean and coast.  Extension faculty and staff work on the Oregon coast and across the state to address critical marine and coastal issues. They  include include community-based agents, subject-matter specialists and educators based at OSU’s  coastal research stations, in county Extension offices and on the main OSU campus in Corvallis.

Oregon Sea Grant publication wins Platinum Award

Oregon Sea Grant’s 2010-2013 Strategic Plan has won a Platinum Award (Best Overall) in the Book/Booklet category of the LACP 2009 Spotlight Awards. The publication earned 98 points out of 100 in the global communications competition, which attracted more than 325 entries from 10 countries.

Christine Kennedy, LACP’s managing director, said “The Oregon Sea Grant 2010-2013 Strategic Plan proves to be remarkable in light of tremendous competition. The first impression is exceptional, while the narrative and visual design are both outstanding. Our belief is that the target audience will find the level of relevance to be exceptional, demonstrating the success of this project in connecting with the right people and delivering a highly applicable and persuasive message.”

The 24-page, full-color booklet was written, edited, and designed entirely by Oregon Sea Grant staff.

LACP (League of American Communications Professionals) provides a forum within the public relations industry to facilitate discussion of best practices while also recognizing exemplary achievements. Its competitions routinely include hundreds of entries from some of the most recognized organizations throughout the world.

Details of the judging can be viewed here.
Download a .pdf version of the Oregon Sea Grant Strategic Plan here.

What’s going on with the brown pelicans?

California Brown PelicansHave you noticed more pelicans in Oregon during the past couple of winters? Join wildlife biologist Deborah Jacques at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center on Saturday, May 8, to learn more about what’s been happening with this intriguing species.

Jacques,  who specializes in studies of brown pelicans and other coastal waterbirds, will review the general non-breeding ecology of the California brown pelican, summarize seasonal distribution and abundance patterns in the Pacific Northwest, and then discuss the unusual events of the last two winters, which saw large numbers of pelicans staying north late into the season and experiencing unusual mortality all along the west coast.

The public lecture starts at 1:30 p.m. Admission to the HMSC Visitor Center is by suggested donation.

Jay RasmussenJay Rasmussen, Sea Grant Extension program leader since 1996, is the recipient of the 2009 Alberta Johnson Award for Excellence in Extension Leadership, presented earlier this month by Scott Reed, OSU Extension Service Director and Vice Provost for University Outreach and Engagement.

Reed called Rasmussen “an incubator of ideas” and “an outstanding leader  whose philosophy of encouragement, mentoring, and support inspires individuals and groups to bring out the best in themselves and others.”

The Vice Provost’s words echoed those of Sea Grant Extension faculty who nominated their program leader for the honor, which is intended to recognize and reward people who’ve made outstanding contributions to the Extension Service through creative and effective administration and leadership.

“Jay is open to listening as we share ideas and dream about creative possibilities,” the nominating team wrote. “His passion for the program and his interest in our professional growth stirs us to excitement and continual learning.”

As program leader, Rasmussen has helped shape and guide a team of   17 marine Extension faculty, both on campus and in communities the length of the Oregon coast.  Oregon Sea Grant Extension has been praised by  federal reviewers as a “best practices” model for the other 29 Sea Grant College Programs across the country.

An historian by education, with a Master’s from the University of Utah, Rasmussen served for 17 years as executive director of the Oregon Coastal Zone Management Association before joining Sea Grant. He is a past chair of the National Sea Grant executive committee and the Assembly of Extension Sea Grant Program Leaders, and serves on the Oregon Water Resources Commission.

Rasmussen formally retired early this year, but is continuing in a a part-time  interim role while the university seeks his successor.

Earth Day 2010 logoFor Earth Day 2010, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is highlighting the  implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

NOAA provided $167 million in Recovery Act funding to 50 high-quality, high-priority coastal restoration projects around the country. The efforts are helping to jump-start the nation’s economy by supporting thousands of jobs as well as restoring fish and wildlife habitat.

In Oregon, the Act is providing $699,000 to the Fishing Industry Restoration Partnership, a project which has recruited commercial fishermen to begin retrieving an estimated 180 metric tons of  lost and abandoned crab  pots and other fishing gear off the central coast. The gear damages marine habitats and fouls fishing lines; its retrieval not only cleans up the seafloor ecosystem, but it also provides work for fishermen and their boats.

The NOAA grant resulted, in part, from a successful 2006-07   pilot project organized by the Oregon
Fishermen’s Cable Committee with funding and technical support from Oregon Sea Grant.

National program offers grants for aquaculture, invasives research

NOAA Sea Grant is offering grants totalling $12.8 million to coordinated research, outreach and education programs designed to create sustainable aquaculture projects and limit the regional spread of invasive species.

Approximately half of the funds are devoted to  a broad national aquaculture  competition open to institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, commercial organizations, state, local and Indian tribal governments and individuals. Dubbed the NOAA Sea Grant Aquaculture Research Program 2010, the competition is aimed at funding economically and environmentally sustainable aquaculture projects across the country in 2010-2011.

The remaining two grants are open to research, outreach and education teams affiliated with one or more of the 30 National Sea Grant College Programs located in US coastal and Great Lakes states (as well as the US Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico).  One program will offer up to $4.8 million in grants to help support state and regional aquaculture through outreach and technology transfer; the other devotes $2 million to regional-scale efforts to address marine invasive species issues.

Each of the three grant programs depends on the availability of federal funding. Proposals must be submitted through, and application deadlines are in May.

For more information visit the NOAA Sea Grant Web site.

National Geographic editor to speak on climate at OSU Earth Day observance

Dennis DimickAn editor who has been called  “the Al Gore of National Geographic” will deliver the annual Tom McCall lecture on the environment at Oregon State University on April 22, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

Dennis Dimick,  National Geographic‘s award-winning environmental editor, takes the theme “Changing Planet: Where Energy and Climate Collide” for his Earth Day talk, which will take place at 7 p.m. at OSU’s LaSells Stewart Center. The lecture series,  honoring the memory of the legendary Oregon governor and his commitment to public service, journalism and environmental protection,  was established in 1985 and remains free and open to the public.

Dimick – a 1973 graduate of OSU – will lead the audience on a sweeping visual journey, based on his magazine’s reporting and recent scientific evidence,  documenting the effects of climate change. He’ll also talk about what people can do to reverse some of those troubling trends.  National Geographic has been among the world’s leading media outlets in documenting effects of climate change on the natural world. Dimick has shaped much of that coverage in concert with Editor-in-Chief Chris Johns, also an OSU graduate.

Squid invasion: threat or opportunity?

Growing numbers of Humboldt squid appearing off the Oregon coast have some scientists and fishermen concerned about the impact on salmon smolts and other native species – but others wonder if the squid might become a new commercial catch.

In some fishing spots off Newport, fishermen report that their boats  have been completely surrounded by the animals.

Oregon Sea Grant researcher Selena Heppell is among the scientists trying to get a better picture of how many squid have migrated to Oregon waters – and what the voracious carnivores are eating.

Read more from The Oregonian at

OCEAN partners to receive presidential award

Coastal America Logo

NEWPORT – Two federal representatives will visit OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center on April 17 to present a presidential award  to Oregon Sea Grant’s education team and other partners in the Ocean Conservation and Education Alliance Northwest.

The presentation will take place at 12:30 in the HMSC Visitor Center’s Hennings Auditorium.

On hand for the event will be Virginia Tippie, Director of the Coastal America program, together with Louisa Koch, Director of Education for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, representing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.

The award, announced last fall,  represents the highest level national recognition for outstanding multi-agency, multi-stakeholder collaborations that pool resources from many sources to accomplish coastal restoration, preservation, protection and education projects.

Partners in the OCEAN effort include:

  • Oregon Sea Grant’s marine education program, based at the HMSC.
  • The Oregon Coast Aquarium
  • Lincoln County School District
  • South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • Oregon Institute of Marine Biology

The public is invited to the ceremony.

Read more about the award