Sea Grant Pacific Region Coastal Experiences Valuable for New York’s Water Resources
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - Press Release

Contacts:

Dale Baker, National Sea Grant Advisory Board Chairman, P: 607.227.3157
Dave White, New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist, P: 315.312.3042, E: dgw9@cornell.edu
Kara Lynn Dunn, Publicist, P: 315-465-7578, karalynn@gisco.net

Ithaca, NY, August 8, 2016 - The experiences of Sea Grant representatives recently returned from educational outreach travel to American Samoa and Japan are expected to benefit the anticipated announcement of freshwater marine sanctuaries in New York’s Great Lakes region and coastal interests in the marine district of the state.

At the request of the National Marine Sanctuaries program, New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist David G. White traveled to the U.S. island territory of American Samoa to introduce coastal resource leaders to the award-winning Discover Clean and Safe Boating educational program.

“Our focus in inviting New York Sea Grant to share its best practices for clean, safe and environmentally-friendly boating is to enhance the safety of those who work, explore, and conduct research in the six National Marine Sanctuaries surrounding American Samoa,” said Dana Wilkes, Small Boats Coordinator with the NOAA National Ocean Service, Seattle, WA.

White, the 2015 New York State Boating Educator of the Year, worked with representatives of the dive charter industry, emergency management sector, first responders, marine patrols, and National Parks Service in a multi-day dive training and safety drill.

“Even before I left the groups involved in the training began planning to implement future clean and safe boating activities for those associated with the pristine marine resources in American Samoa,” says White.

White says his international experience has prompted new ideas for adapting the Discover Clean and Safe Boating program for use with any National Marine Sanctuaries (NMS) that may be designated in New York. Two NMS applications are pending for the state’s Great Lakes region.

Earlier this year, National Sea Grant Advisory Board Chairman Dale Baker traveled to Japan with a delegation of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Sea Grant leaders from several states for an International Sea Grant Symposium at the Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology. Japan is interested in enhancing its coastal resources management with Sea Grant-style programming.

The Sea Grant network in the U.S. is a partnership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and universities hosting 33 programs serving to help citizens in every coastal and Great Lakes state, Puerto Rico, and Guam understand, conserve and better utilize freshwater and marine resources.

As New York Sea Grant Extension Director from 1995 to 2008, Baker helped spark Sea Grant-modeled programs in Indonesia and Korea.

“I believe that Sea Grant is one of the best investments made by the federal government in the U.S. and any nation’s coastal communities can benefit from a similar commitment by their country’s government,” Baker said. “With the impact of tsunamis and earthquakes, the stability of coastal areas is of increasing concern in Japan. Sea Grant’s combined education, research and science-based extension model could be very beneficial to protecting the tremendous coastal resources of Japan.”

Hawaii Sea Grant Director Darren T. Lerner, Ph.D., assembled the delegation that traveled to Toyko. He has worked with the Japanese on shared interests related to fisheries and coastal hazards.

“The unique environment in Hawaii and the Pacific region is changing under the influence of rising ocean levels, coastal erosion, invasive species, increasing land use and development, pollution, and surging populations. Sea Grant programs in the U.S. face similar issues. International exchanges can be mutually beneficial on a global scale,” Lerner said.


New York Sea Grant Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist David G. White, front row second from right, traveled to American Samoa to share Discover Clean and Safe Boating educational practices with a variety of groups, including this Dive Drill Response Team. The team includes members of the American Samoa Marine Patrol, National Marine Sanctuary American Samoa personnel, and American Samoa EMS personnel. Photo: NOAA National Ocean Service


More Info: The Participants

Dale Baker’s career with Sea Grant included time with the New York Sea Grant and Minnesota Sea Grant programs. He was honored with the William Q. Wick Award for Visionary Career Leadership, the highest honor given to a Sea Grant Extension leader in 2008. As noted earlier, as New York Sea Grant Extension Director from 1995 to 2008, Baker helped spark Sea Grant-style programs in Indonesia and Korea.

Darren T. Lerner holds a doctorate in organismic and evolutionary biology from the University of Massachusetts: Amherst. He joined Hawaii Sea Grant in 2007, served as Associate Director for seven years, and was named director in 2014. He also serves as affiliate research faculty at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology where he conducts research focused on the environmental physiology of fishes.

David G. “Dave” White, in addition to being the 2015 New York State Boating Educator of the Year, was also honored as the 2015 Northern States Boating Educator of the Year by the National Association of Boating Law Administrators. White developed the Discover Clean and Safe Boating project which has educated more than half a million people since 2008. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Boating Industries Association of Upstate New York and with support from marine industry representatives who donate the use of a different style of boat as an educational vessel for the project each year. The project has customized its message for various audiences, including deaf boaters, anglers, duck hunters, paddlesport enthusiasts, and marine emergency responders. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and New York State Marine Services Bureau personnel have assisted with program delivery.

Dana Wilkes, Small Boats Coordinator with the NOAA National Ocean Service, Seattle, WA, is part of the team overseeing the operation and management of a fleet of federal research and survey vessels operating with the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. One of their operations is the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa. Personnel and divers aboard those boats carry out hydrographic surveys, scientific instrument deployment, water quality monitoring, marine mammal surveys, and law enforcement activities. Vessels vary in size from kayaks to 85-fot-long research vessels; the majority are designed specifically for research and diving and operate in the coastal zone environment.


More Info: New York Sea Grant


New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark and at SUNY Oswego. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Manhattan, in the Hudson Valley through Cooperative Extension in Kingston and at Brooklyn College. 

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published several times a year.

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