What’s New in Extension?
Publications: New York Coastlines, Spring/Summer 2016

New York Sea Grant Extension welcomed four new specialists in the last year. Here's what each of them have been up to since first coming aboard ...


New York Sea Grant’s Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Leaders Trainer, Brittney Rogers, staffing a display to educate boaters and fishermen about aquatic invasive species at the 2015 Empire Farm Days. Photo: NY Sea Grant

Two of New York Sea Grant's most recently hired extension specialists specialists, Brittney Rogers and Heather Weitzner are working at a new office location in Newark, NY.

As NYSG’s Extension Aide, Brittney Rogers designed the New York’s Great Lakes Web site, www.nyseagrant.org/nygreatlakes, a comprehensive web-based resource spotlighting the importance of New York’s Great Lakes region, the coastal environment, and associated recreational and economic opportunities. For more, also see the related press release, "NY Sea Grant Partners with NYSDEC, Launches New York's Great Lakes Web Portal."

As NYSG’s Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Leaders Trainer, she provides training to newly-developed water-based stewardship programs that include a watercraft inspection component. She is developing watercraft inspection steward program training protocol and training/outreach materials as a response to the needs of watercraft inspection steward programs across the state. This will help standardize efforts to engage recreational boaters in slowing the spread of aquatic invasive species. For more, see www.nyseagrant.org/watercraftinspection.


An example of a nature-based shoreline. Photo: NYSDEC. (Inset) At NY’s Great Lakes Nature-Based Shorelines Workshop: Shannon Dougherty, NYSDEC; speaker Scudder Mackey, Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Heather Weitzner, NY Sea Grant; and Don Zelazny, NYSDEC Great Lakes Program Coordinator. Photo: Barbara. A. Branca

Heather Weitzner is the NYSG’s Coastal Processes and Hazards Specialist for the Great Lakes region. As documented in her Web site, www.nyseagrant.org/glcoastal, she provides assistance and educational outreach on issues associated with shoreline erosion, erosion management and engineering, and coastal flooding and mitigation. Her professional and educational background include Coastal and Ocean Engineering with experience in consulting and research.

Heather recently produced and released two informative fact sheets: Coastal Processes and Causes of Shoreline Erosion and Accretion and Effects of Erosion and Accretion on Coastal Landforms.

New Yorkers in the Great Lakes region have experienced extreme storm and flood events in recent years. In response, Heather co-organized a November 2015 workshop in Rochester  entitled "A Workshop for Practitioners: Exploring Nature-Based Shoreline Erosion Management Practices Along NY’s Great Lakes and Connecting Channels."

Addressed at the workshopfor which resources can be found at www.nyseagrant.org/naturebasedshorelineswas how Great Lakes shorelines be protected from the effects of extreme weather events and everyday stresses. The workshop's driving force was and exploration of the possible uses of natural materials such as sand and vegetation for shoreline erosion management. Organizers included the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Great Lakes Watershed Program, New York Sea Grant, Wisconsin Sea Grant, and other partnering federal, state and county agencies, non-government organizations, and private consultants.


Helen Cheng standing in front of her table display showcasing resources for resilience in New York City. Photo courtesy of Helen Cheng.

More recently, NYSG hired two new extension specialists in the marine district.

Beginning earlier this spring, Helen Cheng became New York Sea Grant’s Coastal Resilience Specialist in a partnership with the Science and Resilience Institute @ Jamaica Bay. The outreach program that Cheng heads up focuses on community engagement and research efforts to enhance resilience for the communities within the Jamaica Bay Watershed in New York City. Her office is located at Brooklyn College.

Prior to her hire, Helen was a 2015 NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow. During her fellowship year, Cheng visited the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) where she helped to deploy data buoys on Lake Erie.

At her new job, Helen is the co-organizer of the biennial State of the Bay symposia series, initiated through a mandate of the NYC Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan. This symposium brings together scientists, decision makers, and community groups to discuss relevant science knowledge and management strategies that enhance the resilience of Jamaica Bay. Helen is the co-chair for tentatively-titled, “Communities” during the 2016 State of the Bay Symposium.

She was also on the planning committee for “It’s My Estuary Day,” a community event that brought together school children, teachers, parents, and families engaging them to learn about, value and care for it’s precious, vulnerable, estuary environment. For more on that event, see our related news item, "Sea Grant Supports Brooklyn's "It's My Estuary" Day: Photo Gallery."


Michael Ciaramella (left), Gregg Rivara and NYSG Research Coordinator Lane Smith at the aquaculture lab at Suffolk County Marine Environmental Learning Center where Gregg is Director. Gregg’s Sea Grant research project—developing local shellfish hatcheries and increasing oyster production—investigates using algae concentrate to take the place of live algae in feeding shellfish. Photo by Barbara A. Branca

In his role as New York Sea Grant’s Seafood Safety and Technology Specialist, Michael Ciaramella works with the seafood industry, regulatory agencies and food and nutrition professionals on issues related to seafood safety, quality and marketing. Efforts include management of the National Seafood HACCP Alliance’s Internet training course, and soon conducting seafood HACCP training courses in New York. Mike is currently involved with educational projects on Listeria controls in processed seafood products, seafood consumption risks and benefits, and Internet based distance education training on Good Manufacturing Practices.


Mike, located in our Stony Brook offices, has started to develop new materials for educating consumers and seafood purchasers on important topics surrounding the safety, quality and marketing of seafood (shown above).  Mike is also initiating a program to increase seafood production and acceptance in New York through active education on farmed U.S. seafood products and how they complement wild fisheries.

For more on Mike, see NYSG's Q&A, "New York Sea Grant Catches a New Seafood Safety and Technology Specialist."


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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