Here in Massachusetts we are indelibly connected to the sea, with 75 percent of our citizens living within coastally situated counties. As such, our wellbeing and economy are increasingly reliant upon a healthy ocean and a resilient coastline, with each being challenged more and more by our changing climate.
Putting Science to Work for Massachusetts’ Diverse Coastal Communities, is the Woods Hole Sea Grant Program’s 2018-2023 Strategic Plan to address local, regional, and national issues and opportunities over the next several years. The plan identifies marine-related issues of importance, institutional resources, and potential partnerships in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Northeast region of the United States. Enhancing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in all program activities will be a major point of emphasis in our implementation of this strategic plan.
While the Woods Hole Sea Grant program supports the entire state in concert with our partner Sea Grant program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, much of our impact will be felt in southeastern Massachusetts, Cape Cod, and the Islands. For example, our researcher’s work on Healthy Coastal Ecosystems will support the tourism economy through a better understanding of what drives coastal water quality. Jobs will be created and sustained through shellfish aquaculture training, disease monitoring, and habitat assessment. Storm hazard identification and floodplain management will foster a resilient coastline. Educating our teachers through topical workshops and supporting graduate and undergraduate student research projects will help train the next generation of marine scientists.
Sea Grant, which was established by Congress in 1966, “engages citizens, communities, scientists, organizations and governments to sustain and enhance the vitality, value and wise use of the nation’s coastal resources”. This strategic plan follows the guiding principles set forth by Congress over 50 years ago while addressing the collective concerns of the diverse Massachusetts marine community at all levels. It highlights important marine issues and research needs, suggests investigative approaches, and proposes research-based outreach programs. Perhaps most importantly, this plan serves as a catalyst for creative thinking and identifying new opportunities.
Matthew A. Charette
Director, Woods Hole Sea Grant