West Coast Sea Grant programs seek social science research proposals

Social scientists interested in ocean and coastal issues are invited to submit proposals to a new Sea Grant call for coordinated, regional  research efforts that bring together researchers up and down the West Coast to address specific social science issues of regional priority.

Subject to available funding, the four West Coast Sea Grant programs – Oregon, Washington, California and the University of Southern California – intend to make a total of $700,000 available collectively at the regional level over two years to fund projects. In addition, the National Sea Grant Office may augment available state program funds. Given these funding limits, the programs anticipate being able to fund between two and four regional projects for the 2012-2014 biennium.

Projects will be selected though an open, competitive peer-review process. Letters of intent are due by Feb. 22, 2011, and full proposals by May 15.

Proposals must be submitted through Washington Sea Grant. Researchers are required to contact their state Sea Grant program directors to discuss ideas and linkages before submitting a letter of intent. Oregon researchers should contact Oregon Sea Grant director Stephen Brandt at stephen.brandt@oregonstate.edu, or 541-737-2714.

Read more and download the full RFP in .pdf format.

NOAA launches marine planning site

A new Web site from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gives visitors tools to learn about marine spatial planning – the ocean equivalent of land-use planning.

The site, at www.msp.noaa.gov, not only lays out basic concepts, but helps visitors  stay on top of current  news and information about marine spatial planning initiatives in the U.S., at both the federal and state levels.

The site also provides access to the tools and data used by organizations involved in marine spatial planning, including mapping and modeling tools, downloadable software and direct access to relevant government databases.

The site’s “In Practice” section profiles a number of state and regional projects involving marine spatial planning, including current Oregon efforts to plan for offshore wave energy projects.

Oregon Sea Grant-funded tsunami research featured in NSF “Discoveries”

“One of our experiments found that small seawalls cause a skyward deflection of an incoming tsunami wave, which consequently reduces wave energy and the force on structures directly landward of the wall. … As seawalls are inexpensive and easy to build, they are a sustainable tsunami defense measure applicable for most coastal communities.”

So writes Oregon State University (OSU) graduate student Mary Beth Oshnack in her article, “Building Tsunami-resistant Cities,” in the National Science Foundation’s online news feature, Discoveries. Oshnack has been working with Oregon Sea Grant researcher Dan Cox at OSU’s O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory, part of the National Science Foundation’s  (NSF) Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation, or NEES.

West Coast research needs report is online

The efforts of three years and  people in three states have culminated in the release this week of a new report detailing the major regional marine research and information needs of Oregon, Washington and California.

West Coast Regional Marine Research and Information Needs, produced by the four Sea Grant programs in the three West Coast states, grew out of three years public meetings, surveys and analysis. More than 1,000 stakeholders, representing community, business, research and agency interests, took part in identifying those needs.

Sea Grant collaborators analyzed thousands of stakeholder comments and sorted the needs into eight categories:

  • Vitality of Coastal Communities and Maritime Operations
  • Ocean and Coastal Governance and Management of Multiple Uses
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Marine Ecosystem Structure and Function
  • Ocean Health and Stressors
  • Physical Ocean Processes, Related Climate Change, and Physical Coastal Hazards
  • Water Quality and Pollution
  • Resilience and Adaptability to Hazards and Climate Change

Cutting across those topics are three themes:  climate change, marine education and literacy, and access to information and data.

The project, funded by NOAA as part of a nationwide effort to identify and set priorities for future research, is closely aligned with the West Coast Governors’ Agreement on Ocean Health.

Read more and download a copy of the report …

New Oregon Sea Grant publication explores offshore aquaculture

Offshore Aquaculture book cover

Offshore aquaculture — the cultivation of fish and shellfish in the open ocean — has been practiced successfully for years in coastal waters around the world. However, offshore aquaculture is sparse in the United States and nonexistent in the Pacific Northwest, and the resulting seafood trade deficit is costing us billions of dollars per year.

So says a new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, Offshore Aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest, edited by Oregon State University fisheries professor Chris Langdon.

“The United States is far from sufficient in meeting its demands for seafood,” Langdon says. “Forty-five percent of our wild fish stocks are overfished, and we import about 80 percent of our seafood from other countries, at an annual cost of $13 billion. Clearly there is a need to develop additional sources of seafood.”

Offshore aquaculture may eventually prove to be one of those sources.

With support from NOAA and other federal and state agencies, Langdon says, offshore aquaculture projects have been established in a few regions of the United States. However, no such projects have been established in the Pacific Northwest.

Thus, last fall Langdon invited representatives of state and federal agencies, the media, research institutions, and coastal and fishing communities to Newport, Oregon, to evaluate the potential of offshore aquaculture in this region. Offshore Aquaculture in the Pacific Northwest presents the results of that forum, including recommendations for next steps in the discussion.

Copies of the 24-page publication may be downloaded at no charge from http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/onlinepubs.html#w08001, or purchased for $3.50 each plus shipping from Sea Grant Communications, 541-737-4849.

In addition, individual papers and presentations from Langdon’s offshore aquaculture forum are available as PDF documents and streaming video at http://oregonstate.edu/conferences/aquaculture2008.

Low impact development workshops being held throughout Oregon

Oregon Sea Grant Extension is partnering with the Oregon Environmental Council to offer a series of low impact development (LID) workshops for Oregon¹s growing communities. The goal is to expand the adoption of sustainable stormwater management practices that protect watersheds from urban runoff while reducing costs. The workshops will be of particular interest to builders, developers, designers, stormwater engineers, elected officials, jurisdictional staff, and other professionals.

For more information and registration, visit: http://www.oeconline.org/our-work/rivers/stormwater/low-impact-development/lid-workshops  

West Coast research planning document up for public comment

A draft report on ocean and coastal research and information needs on the West Coast is available for public review and comment from the Oregon Sea Grant Web site.  The deadline for comments is Jan. 16, 2009

The report, developed by Sea Grant programs in Oregon, Washington and California after extensive public involvement,  is available for download in .pdf format, along with background documents including more than 5,000 marine research and information recommendations made by stakeholders in public meetings and on line.

Read more …