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.