April 26, 2002
Sea Grant funding seeds coastal projects
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. The Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG) College Program has been awarded $928,500 to continue efforts to foster a sustainable environment and economy in the southern Lake Michigan and Great Lakes region.
"Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant serves clients along 104 miles of heavily urbanized and industrialized shoreline in the two states," says Dick Warner, interim Sea Grant director. "Our focus is environmental stewardship, long-term economic development and responsible use of resources through research, education and outreach."
Funding from the National Sea Grant Program is matched in part by the University of Illinois, Purdue University and their partners. According to Warner, the program funds research projects at a number of institutions, including the University of Illinois, Purdue, University of Notre Dame, Northwestern University and the Illinois Natural History Survey. IISG is focused on critical concerns in aquaculture; biological resources; invasive species; coastal business and environment; coastal processes and water quality.
"Frequently, Sea Grant works closely with policymakers and has sometimes provided crucial support in the initial stages of what become major projects," says Warner.
IISG encouraged and funded the beginnings of the Wingspread Tri-State Regional Accord, an historic agreement in which four planning agencies along Lake Michigan in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana have committed to work together as they consider major environmental and economic issues.
Sea Grant also funded preliminary planning for an environmental visitor center in the Calumet area, a 20 square-mile area on the southeast side of Chicago and in Northwest Indiana. Since then, the proposed center, as part of a larger effort to revitalize the environment and economy of the Calumet area, has received major funding from both government and corporate sources.
Many Sea Grant efforts focus on education and hands-on experience for youth. IISG involves 4-H field volunteers helping to get rid of purple loosestrife, an invasive weed that causes widespread problems in coastal and inland wetlands. The 4-H members use biological control, in this case the introduction of a beetle that is that is the weed's natural enemy.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant is one of 30 Sea Grant programs nationwide. The National Sea Grant College Program began in the National Science Foundation in the early 1960s. Within a few years it moved to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as an agent for scientific discovery, technology transfer, economic growth and public education as they involve coastal, ocean and Great Lakes resources.
Compiled by Mindy Reef, (765) 494-8402, email@example.com
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