About Us

Pennsylvania enjoys abundant freshwater resources with more than 84,000 miles of streams, 76.6 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, many inland lakes, and 110 miles of Delaware River tidal coastline.  These resources are shared with many other states and Canada. With a multitude of concerns, including urban and suburban sprawl, agricultural and residential runoff, emerging contaminants, abandoned coal mines, and new drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, Pennsylvania also shares many challenges.  Pennsylvania Sea Grant helps the Commonwealth solve these challenges in three important ways:

Education

We engage residents, educators, students, and others across the state through publications, workshops, displays, special projects, and presentations. Topics include water quality, airsheds, fishing, maritime heritage, the Marcellus shale gas play, aquatic invasive species, biodiversity, underwater robotics, emerging contaminants, and other topics. Education programs include:

  • Year-round programs for K-16 schools and educators
  • Undergraduate and graduate internship and practicum opportunities
  • Community workshops
  • A weekly environmental education full page publication in the Erie Times-News, written by PA Sea Grant. Each reaches 6,000 students and 194,000 general readers

Outreach

We focus on ecosystem stewardship, fisheries and native species, planning for future climate, sustainable land use, coastal safety, and human health by:

  • Helping Pennsylvania’s coastal communities, conserve and protect coastal areas, and improve public access to local waterways
  • Planning and implementing strategies to protect economies and the environment from natural hazards and climate change
  • Reducing bluff and stream-bank erosion, protecting important coastal lands, and providing more public access to waterways; our conservation efforts led to $12.05 million in funding for the conservation of over 1,530 acres of land, including 8.4 miles of stream and lake shoreline in the Erie watershed
  • Working to keep unwanted medicines and personal care products out of our waterways
  • Organizing coastal boater and marina recycling to reduce marine pollution; our efforts kept over 100,000 pounds of waste out of the landfill
  • Leading the effort to develop the Pennsylvania Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan to manage and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species

Research

We support practical research to address coastal environmental issues by:

  • Funding research projects in many Pennsylvania universities
  • Leading the Science Consortium at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center at Presque Isle
  • Contributing substantially to programming and museum collection curation
  • Sea Grant staff members conduct important research on the following topics:
    • Bullhead catfish tumors as bio-indicators of environmental contaminants
    • Evaluating outreach methods to improve fish consumption communications
    • Investigating causes of avian botulism along Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie shoreline
    • Understanding sediment contamination in Lake Erie’s Presque Isle Bay and identifying sources of contamination