Pennsylvania State University Awarded NOAA Sea Grant Institutional Program Designation  

July 15, 2008

NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program has designated Penn State University’s Behrend College campus in Erie, Pa., as the Institutional Sea Grant Program for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Through this designation, Pennsylvania Sea Grant becomes the hub for marine and coastal sciences for the state and is responsible for long-term investments consistent with NOAA’s national Sea Grant goals of environmental stewardship and responsible resource use.

Since its establishment as a small Sea Grant project in 1998, Pennsylvania Sea Grant has been on a steady path toward the significant designation that it received today. The program’s new designation as an Institutional Program marks the last step before designation as a full Sea Grant College Program. Pennsylvania Sea Grant has a history of strong partnerships in the state and has already created relevant programs within the northwest region of Pennsylvania, the Lake Erie shoreline, and the Delaware River watershed. The program is also extending efforts into the Susquehanna River watershed.

The Penn State University system was awarded the designation of Institutional Sea Grant Program based on a record of excellent performance in promoting the ecological and economic sustainability of Pennsylvania’s coastal resources and the Lake Erie watershed through science-based research, education, and community outreach. 

“The Pennsylvania Sea Grant program at Behrend College has clearly shown a high level of achievement. Now, as an institutional program, Sea Grant can increase its contributions to the national interest in years ahead,” said Dr. Leon M. Cammen, director, NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program. “And with the addition of Pennsylvania, the national Sea Grant network of programs now includes every coastal state.”

Among its many achievements, Pennsylvania Sea Grant has chaired the Seaway Trail Pennsylvania Steering Committee since 2003. As a result of the committee’s work, the Seaway Trail received National Scenic Byway designation from the Federal Highway Administration. This designation made the trail eligible for tourism-related economic development projects along this corridor including $310,752 in federal funding to develop interpretive panels. In addition, more than $330,000 was secured for footpath construction.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.