Wisconsin Sea Grant to Invest $3.9 Million in Science-Based Projects to Enhance the Great Lakes Economy and Regional Quality of Life

As part of an education project, New Light Under the Surface: An Underwater Photography Program for At-Risk Youth Exploring Wisconsin’s Great Lakes as Therapy, Art and Science, youth will explore the natural world as a means to further human development. This photo was shot by a previous student in the northern Wisconsin program.

Credit: Northwest Passage, Ltd.

February 22, 2016

By Moira Harrington

The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, which is dedicated to the sustainable use of Great Lakes resources through research, education and outreach, today announced the award of $3.9 million in research dollars for 2016-17. Sea Grant will fund 19 projects on six Wisconsin campuses, along with a shipwreck exploration project in Lake Michigan in partnership with the Wisconsin Historical Society and an education project with the University of Wisconsin-Extension. 

“We often say the Great Lakes are a gift from the glaciers,” said Sea Grant Director Jim Hurley. “This gift is a valuable one—a 2011 study found 1.5 million jobs are tied to the lakes, with $62 billion in annual wages. Just as the lakes fuel our economy, they also enrich our quality of life. That’s why we are pleased that these science-based projects, 15 new ones and three continuing from 2015, can further Wisconsin’s economic, cultural and public health needs as tied to lakes Michigan and Superior.”

Researchers will look into the health of the waterways, better ways to grow tasty walleyes destined for people’s dinner plates, methods to prevent Great Lakes beach contamination, possible ways to lessen the destruction of floods and more.

In all, nearly 100 researchers, staff and students will be engaged in this work, said Hurley. The campuses are La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee and Stevens Point, along with Northland College and St. Norbert College.