Author: jab10018

Symposium focuses on successes, pitfalls of eco-friendly projects

“Site Development for Our Changing Weather Patterns,” a symposium focusing on what’s working and what to watch out for in eco-friendly development, will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 22 at the UConn Middlesex County Extension Office in Haddam.

The symposium is being presented by The Rockfall Foundation and the UConn Climate Adaptation Academy, a partnership of Connecticut Sea Grant, CLEAR and the UConn College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources. Attendees will learn about the Jordan Cove subdivision in Waterford, what’s been done on the UConn campus and green infrastructure projects in New Haven. It is intended for local elected and appointed officials, town planners and zoning enforcement officials, architects, developers, engineers, landscape architects, educators, students, members of planning, zoning, wetlands and zoning board of appeals commissions and others concerned about how to design for changing weather patterns.

For more information and to register, click here.

Important information on National Aquaculture Initiative funding

The NOAA National Sea Grant 2018 National Aquaculture Inititiave Funding Opportunity has announced important information about funding levels, forms needed for submission and subawards.

Pending budget appropriations, the program expects to have $7 million to $11.5 million available across fiscal years 2018, 2019 and 2020 as part of the Sea Grant National Aquaculture Initiative (NAI). Each application can request a maximum of $750,000 in total federal funds. Non-federal matching funds of at least 50 percent are required for every year of federal funding requested. 

If you are applying to this grant via Connecticut Sea Grant, please read the important information required to submit:

Forms needed with submission: The funding opportunity requires the Sea Grant director to serve as PI (principal investigator) of record on the applications. Therefore, CTSG will handle the required forms and submission to grants.gov. The applicants are required to provide the following documents to CTSG in the indicated format:

  1. Project summary short form 90-2 (Word/EXCEL) – For the EXCEL file: http://seagrant.noaa.gov/Portals/1/Forms/90-2-Project-Summary-SHORT-Form-092717.zip; for the Word file:  http://seagrant.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1985/2017/04/90-2.docx
  2. Project narrative (PDF)
  3. Budget 90-4 (EXCEL) –  http://seagrant.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1985/2017/04/90-4.xlsx
  4. Budget justification (narrative) (Word)
  5. Current and pending support (PDF)
  6. CVs (PDF)
  7. Data management plan (PDF) – http://seagrant.uconn.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/1985/2017/04/Full-Proposal-DMP-Form.docx
  8. Abbreviated Environmental Compliance Questionnaire (PDF) – http://seagrant.noaa.gov/Portals/1/Forms/Aquaculture-AbbreviatedEnvironmentalComplianceQuestionnaire-14Dec2017.docx

Clarifications on subawards:

  1. If a proposal is submitted from an entity within UConn, the entity is responsible for taking into account the indirect costs associated with disbursing funds through subawards to all subawardees.
  2. If a proposal is submitted from an entity outside UConn, the entity is responsible for taking into account the indirect costs associated with disbursing funds through subawards to all subawardees outside UConn.
  3. If a proposal is submitted from an entity outside UConn, with a subaward to UConn, CTSG will distribute the funds directly to the UConn subawardees without associated indirect costs.
  4. If a proposal is submitted from an entity outside UConn, the funds will be transferred to the recipient via a subaward from UConn. This transaction requires indirect costs (59.5 percent on the first $25,000 of a subaward or $14,875). The proposer does not need to include such indirect costs in his or her budget. CTSG is required to adjust the year one budget to include this charge and provide the required match for these indirect charges. However, this amount has to be included into the $750,000 cap. Therefore, for a proposal submitted from an entity outside UConn, the proposer’s year 1 federal budget may not exceed $235,125 and the total three-year federal budget request may not exceed $735,125. Further, proposers from outside UConn must include the required 50 percent match on those indirect costs, i.e., $7,438 in match in addition to 50 percent of the costs they request.

To apply:

Connecticut applicants are encouraged to reach out to Connecticut Sea Grant one to two months before the March application deadline to receive guidance regarding proposal development and to discuss their projects.  The application is available at: grants.gov, opportunity NOAA-OAR-SG-2018-2005489. More information on this and other Sea Grant opportunities is available at: https://seagrant.uconn.edu/funding/grants/.

Submission Deadlines:

Complete proposals should be submitted to Connecticut Sea Grant by CTSG by 5 p.m. EST on March 2, 2018 via email to: seagrantresearch@uconn.edu.

Please note that this is a national competition administered by the National Sea Grant Office, and that CTSG has no control over the rules and regulations governing such a competition, and their consequences on individual proposals.

For the original award announcement and links to a webinar about the funding opportunity, click here. Frequently asked questions and answers about the program can be found here: 

Questions? Contact Dr. Syma Ebbin, CTSG Research Coordinator, at:  Syma.ebbin@uconn.edu or by phone at (860) 405-9278.

 

Funds target small research, education, outreach & pilot projects

Connecticut Sea Grant provides development funding for small research, education, outreach and pilot projects on a rolling basis.

This funding for small projects is awarded on an on-going basis. Development project funding is primarily designed for one-time support of pilot research projects, publications, conferences or similar initiatives. Requests should be under $5,000 and preferably in the $250 to $3,000 range. There is no specific format or length requirements for development requests, however they should be well-written, include references if needed, and must:

  • Clearly delineate how the project responds or relates to the specific goals and outcomes identified in the CTSG strategic plan
  • Describe the need for the project, the methods or approach to be used
  • Identify the names, contacts and qualifications of individuals involved
  • Include a budget and justification for the requested budget items
  • Be sent via email to Dr. Syma Ebbin.

All projects funded this year must be completed by 1/31/2019.  For more information please refer to our development funding webpage   or contact Dr. Syma Ebbin.

Statement from CT Sea Grant director about federal budget

Connecticut Sea Grant Director Sylvain De Guise issued this statement on Feb. 14, 2018:

Friends and colleagues,

I wanted to provide a brief update on the status of the budget for Sea Grant, since there is a lot of activity in D.C. which directly affects our programs and associated activities.

Last week saw a breakthrough in budget negotiations between parties, with an agreement on overall budget caps for this and next year. However, Congress has yet to pass a budget for the current fiscal year (FY18, which started Oct. 1, 2017, and ends Sept. 30, 2018), and we are still operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR). It is in fact the fourth CR this year, and extends until March 23. As a consequence, we are still uncertain about our budget allocation for the Sea Grant award year that funds our program for the cycle that started Feb. 1, 2018. Because of delays in receiving our funding, and uncertainty about our allocation, some program activities have already been disrupted. For example, we are still unable to fund the research projects that should have started on Feb. 1.

Further, President Trump’s budget for fiscal year 2019, released on Monday, proposed the elimination of all 33 Sea Grant programs. This would cause hardship for a broad diversity of stakeholders who count on Sea Grant to build resilience in their communities, grow and sell safe seafood, maintain and improve ecosystem services for environmental and economic benefits, develop and maintain businesses and educate the next generation. However, Congress has in the past been supportive of Sea Grant. When President Trump’s budget also proposed to zero out Sea Grant last year, stakeholders and supporters across the country reached out to their Congressmen, and the Appropriations Committees in both the House and Senate proposed budgets to fully restore funding for Sea Grant for the current year, although as stated above the FY18 budget still has to be finalized.

We thank you in advance for understanding the circumstance and associated disruptions in services that may result, but we have no control over the federal budget process and its consequences.

Yours,

 

 

 

 

Sylvain De Guise

‘Unfiltered’ exhibit now at Avery Point showcases images of water

Poster for 'Unfiltered' exhibit at UConn Avery PointGroton – Selected paintings, photographs and other works from “Unfiltered: An Exhibition about Water,” are on display through early May at the Branford House at UConn Avery Point.

The full exhibit opened at The William Benton Museum of Art at the main UConn campus in Storrs in September and closed on Dec. 17, then moved to the Avery Point. Opening Feb. 8, the display at the Branford House is comprised of seven oil paintings – including two of the lower Connecticut River by Chester artist Leif Nilsson – plus four photographs, two mixed-media works and a 10-minute video of the Yamuna River in New Delhi, India.

The exhibit is a collaboration of several UConn departments and programs, including Connecticut Sea Grant. Works in the exhibit were incorporated into a climate change adaptation class taught last semester by Juliana Barrett, associate extension educator at Sea Grant, and Bruce Hyde, assistant extension educator with CLEAR. Other works were incorporated into classes in environmental studies, environmental sciences and engineering. The UConn departments of Natural Resources and the Environment, Marine Sciences, Civil & Environmental Engineering and Art History also collaborated on the exhibit.

Visitors can view the exhibit from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday through May 6. Admission is free.

To read an article about the full exhibit, click here.

Quahog Bowl 2018: ‘real learning experience’ with exciting finish

The winning team from Ledyard High School was comprised of (left to right): Coach David Bednarz; students Josephine Mitchell; Matt Blendermann; William Burns; Lauryn Lu; and Eric Banach.
The winning team from Ledyard High School was comprised of (left to right): Coach David Bednarz; students Josephine Mitchell; Matt Blendermann; William Burns; Lauryn Lu; and Eric Banach.

Groton – From morning through mid-afternoon the teams from Ledyard and Glastonbury high schools fielded questions about the anatomy of fish and whales, ions in sea water, sonar technology, the hydrological cycle, marine explorers, the causes of tsunamis and dozens of others related to all things oceanic, from science to literature to geography, history and policy.

They had bested 14 other teams from Connecticut and Rhode Island through eight rounds of timed competition, requiring rapid recall of math, physics, chemistry, marine biology and climatology as well as a quick trigger thumb on the buzzer.

In the ninth and final round of the 21st annual Quahog Bowl on Feb. 3 at UConn Avery Point, the two teams stood neck-and-neck until the last question. The 70 students eliminated in earlier rounds, along with 16 coaches, 50 volunteers and dozens of parents gathered in the auditorium to see whether the Ledyard team would repeat as winners for the second year in a row, or if the underdog Glastonbury team would edge them out.

“We’re coming to the last six minutes of the Quahog Bowl, folks,” said moderator Rick Rigazio, who joked that the academic contest was turning out to be at least as exciting as the next day’s Super Bowl promised to be. “Basically, they’re within one question of each other.”

Members of the Glastonbury High team confer with their during a break in the final round of the Quahog Bowl.
Members of the Glastonbury High team confer with their coach during a break in the final round of the Quahog Bowl.

In the end, the Ledyard team won 52-50 over Glastonbury, the third year in a row of a “crazy close” finish to the competition, said Diana Payne, organizer of the Quahog Bowl and education coordinator at Connecticut Sea Grant, the lead sponsor of the event. It is one of more than two dozen competitions held across the country each year as part of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, which will culminate in Boulder, Colo., in April when the regional winners will face each other.

“We came here not expecting to do that well today,” said Lauryn Lu, one of the members of the Ledyard team.

“A decent amount of this was sheer dumb luck,” added fellow team member Matthew Blendermann.

The team had just one returning member from last year, but had been meeting after school since September to drill content and contest rules.

David Bednarz, science teacher and coach of the Ledyard team, attributed the win both to getting questions that “went our way,” and to the broad base of knowledge of the team members. Students on the team have taken advanced courses in marine science, biology and physics, among others, he said.

“Having that depth really helped,” he said.

The second place Glastonbury team was also pleased with their showing. The school had sent teams to the Quahog Bowl eight previous years.

“We’ve been to the Quahog Bowl before, but we’ve never done this well,” said team member Mariam Coulibaly. “It’s fun.”

Coulibaly’s mother, Julie Donahue, said preparing and competing for the contest has been a perfect complement to her daughter’s interest in marine science and plans to study marine biology in college next year.

“It’s pretty exciting,” she said as she waited it the hallway for the final round to begin. “The team has exceeded all their expectations.”

Canton High team member Jadyn Ide-Pech raises his hands to challenge the answer to a question about the world's largest island.
Canton High team member Jadyn Ide-Pech raises his hands to challenge the answer to a question about the world’s largest island.

The regional competitions all use the same questions, Payne said, and science judges are present at each round in case answers are disputed. Only one challenge was mounted during the Quahog Bowl, from Canton High School team member Jadyn Ide-Pech.

To a question about the world’s largest island, the team answered “Australia.” Moderator Rigazio said the correct answer was “Greenland,” because Australia is considered a continent.

Ide-Pech raised his hand halfway. “Can I challenge that?” he asked, his tone soft and apologetic.

“You certainly can challenge that,” Rigazio replied. “Never apologize for a challenge.”

Evan Ward, head of the UConn marine sciences department and Quahog Bowl science judge, left the room to confer with competition authorities. After a few minutes, he returned.

“After passionate debate, we will accept Australia,” he announced, as Ide-Pech and his teammates shared high-fives.

Three Rhode Island teams participated in the contest: one from Narragansett High and two from Cranston High School East. In addition to the Ledyard, Glastonbury and Canton teams, other Connecticut teams in the contest came from: Coginchaug Regional in Durham; E.O. Smith in Storrs; Marianapolis Prep in Thompson; Norwich Free Academy; Plainville; Southington; Waterford; Woodstock Academy and the Science and Technology Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut in New London, which sent two teams. Each team was comprised of four members, with some including alternate members.

Members of one of the two teams from the Science and Technology Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut tackle short-answer questions during the Quahog Bowl competition.
Members of one of the two teams from the Science and Technology Magnet High School of Southeastern Connecticut tackle short-answer questions during the Quahog Bowl competition.

During a break in the sixth round of the competition, members of one of the Science and Technology Magnet teams huddled with their coach to hear reminders about staying focused even as they were clearly enjoying the excitement of the moment. They had just gotten through a tough series of questions about the osmoregulation process in fish, ocean acidification and salinity calculations. The team had only formed a couple of weeks before the contest, so hadn’t expected to get as far as they did.

“It’s definitely a learning experience, a real competitive atmosphere,” said team member Chris Bowen.

Along with Connecticut Sea Grant, sponsors include: the Consortium for Ocean Leadership; UConn Avery Point; Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration; Mystic Seaport; the Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport; the Sea College Association; and more than 20 nonprofit groups and businesses in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

– Judy Benson

 

Presentation about shellfish aquaculture a big draw in Stonington

Jason Vincent, left, Stonington's director of planning, moderated a question-and-answer session about shellfish aquaculture at the La Grua Center on Jan. 29. Panelists Don Murphy, second from left, chairman of the town's Shellfish Commission, Tessa Getchis, center, of Connecticut Sea Grant, and Steve Plant, right, of Connecticut Cultured Oysters, answered audience questions.
Jason Vincent, left, Stonington’s director of planning, moderated a question-and-answer session about shellfish aquaculture at the La Grua Center on Jan. 29. Panelists Don Murphy, second from left, chairman of the town’s Shellfish Commission, Tessa Getchis, center, of Connecticut Sea Grant, and Steve Plant, far right, of Connecticut Cultured Oysters, answered audience questions.

Stonington – About 100 people curious about the town’s historic and current experience with shellfish aquaculture came to the La Grua Center on Jan. 29 for the chance to learn from some experts and ask questions.

“Shellfishing has been an important part of Stonington since its founding,” said Tessa Getchis, aquaculture extension expert for Connecticut Sea Grant / UConn Extension, who led the program with a PowerPoint presentation titled “Farming the Coastal Waters of Stonington Past, Present and Future.” “Today there are 1,600 acres of shellfish beds in Stonington, along with six shellfish businesses supporting 12 maritime jobs.”

The program, hosted by the Town Planner’s Office, was organized in response to questions and concerns being raised about a proposal from a commercial shellfish farmer to use town waters of Quiambaug Cove to raise oysters.

“We needed a conversation with the community,” said Jason Vincent, the town’s director of planning.

The program gave an overview of the town’s long experience with aquaculture and town and state jurisdiction of shellfishing grounds – which were shown on several maps. It also described the regulatory process for commercial clam and oyster farms and benefits of aquaculture in providing a local source of healthy food, creating jobs and revenues. Shellfish also filter excess nutrients from the water and provide habitat for fish and other marine animals.

Included in Getchis’ presentation were photos of local shellfish farms, several showing open water areas marked by buoys but no other structures visible and one in Groton where oysters are grown in floating bags seen from the surface. Near-shore areas used for shellfish farms are permitted by the town’s Shellfish Commission, while offshore areas are leased from the state, Getchis explained. Permits to install cages, lines and other structures in the water are under the purview of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the state Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Aquaculture and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, she added.

Steve Plant of Connecticut Cultured Oysters answers a question about shellfish aquaculture during a presentation at the La Grua Center in Stonington on Jan. 29.
Steve Plant of Connecticut Cultured Oysters answers a question about shellfish aquaculture during a presentation at the La Grua Center in Stonington on Jan. 29.

In addition to tending their own areas, the town’s commercial shellfish farms also supply seed clams and oysters to the town’s three recreational harvest areas.

“Recreational harvest in our town depends on these farmers,” Getchis said.

Vincent, who moderated the question-and-answer portion, said shellfish aquaculture is identified as an activity the town seeks to preserve and support in its current Plan of Conservation and Development.

Audience questions covered a range of topics, from coordination between the town, state and federal agencies on aquaculture proposals to the amount of acres available for shellfish leases, startup costs for a shellfish farm and to how Connecticut oysters compare to those farmed in Rhode Island.

“We have very good water quality here,” said Steve Plant, who farms oysters in Groton as Connecticut Cultured Oysters. “We have a pretty good oyster here in Connecticut. I’d put my oyster against one from Rhode Island in a heartbeat.”

Audience questions reflected interest listening and learning rather than taking a position on any specific proposal. One man asked how the Shellfish Commission balances historic uses of shellfishing grounds with what is now located around these areas.

“It is a delicate balance between the rights of property owners and the rights of shellfish farmers to use those areas,” said Don Murphy, Shellfish Commission chairman and one of the panelists. “The goal of the Shellfish Commission is to make that balance.”

— Judy Benson

 

NOAA seeking proposals for Coastal Resilience Grants

NOAA has issued a call for proposals for the FY2018 NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants program. This program makes our nation safer and our economy more secure by supporting efforts to enhance the resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems from extreme weather- and climate-related impacts. The program is jointly managed by two NOAA offices: the Office for Coastal Management (National Ocean Service) and the Office of Habitat Conservation (National Marine Fisheries Service).

The FY2017 Coastal Resilience Grants competition included two focus areas— 1) strengthening coastal communities and 2) habitat restoration. In FY2018, new project proposals are being solicited for habitat restoration projects only. For the strengthening coastal communities focus area, NOAA will select from high-scoring but unfunded projects from the FY2017 competition.

The FY2018 Federal Funding Opportunity soliciting applications for habitat restoration projects is accessible through Grants.gov. For this application, a mandatory pre-proposal is due March 7, 2018. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, private (for-profit) entities, institutions of higher education, regional organizations, and local, state and tribal governments. Each proposal may request between $75,000 and $2 million in federal funds. Funding for the NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants  program is dependent on FY2018 appropriations.

Project selections for both focus areas will announced in late summer. Funded projects will begin in October 2018. More information about the program can be found at coast.noaa.gov/resilience-grant.

For additional questions about this grant program contact:

Adam Stein, Coastal Hazards Specialist; NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) @ NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) Center for Weather and Climate (CWC); 151 Patton Ave., Room 468; Asheville, NC 28801. Phone: (828) 271-4916 (office); (808) 721-1451 (cell).

Information can also obtained by contacting: NOAA Office for Coastal Management; 2234 South Hobson Ave.; Charleston, SC 29405; (843) 740-1236.

 

 

Murphy leads 22 senators in urging Trump to fund Sea Grant

 

Washington – Before the Trump administration is expected to unveil a Fiscal Year 2019 budget proposal, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, led 22 other senators in urging President Trump to fund the National Sea Grant College Program at no less than current levels. In a Jan. 31 letter to President Trump, the senators highlighted the important role Sea Grant Programs play in boosting local economies and preserving coastal communities.

The National Sea Grant College Program is a critical source of funding for Connecticut’s Sea Grant Colleges program at UConn Avery Point, Murphy’s office said in a news release on Feb. 1. Despite President Trump’s proposal to eliminate the National Sea Grant College Program in FY 2018, Murphy led a bipartisan effort to defend the program.

We urge you to fund the National Sea Grant College Program at no less than current levels,” the senators wrote. “Sea Grant is vital to local businesses and an important part of preserving coastal communities for generations to come. Sea Grant’s work supporting waterfront and maritime businesses speaks for itself. The federal investment in Sea Grant centers yields $611 million in economic benefit, an 825 percent return on federal investment. We encourage you to provide robust support for the program in your final Fiscal Year 2019 budget.”

In addition to Murphy, U.S. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) signed the letter.

Read the letter here: