Please see below for a message from Dr. Jeff Reutter, our Ohio Sea Grant director. We have recently received some unfortunate news regarding our standing in the Governor’s Budget.
If you’d like to express your feelings on this topic, the best course of action would be to contact your state legislators. You can find contact information for them at http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/search.cfm#reps_zip
As always, we thank you for your support. Feel free to share this information with others who may be interested. Have a great weekend.
Some additional information you may think about and share:
1) Lake Erie is socially, economically and environmentally significant to the region, the nation and the planet.
2) Lake Erie is a multi-use resource that requires restoration, wise utilization and protection for the current generation and for future generations.
3) Lake Erie is an economic, social and environmental engine for the region providing jobs and career opportunities for a vibrant sustainable future.
4) Investments in Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab Lake Erie education, outreach and research will empower citizens to make informed decisions that will help keep Lake Erie and the Great Lakes great!
5) Our dedicated, enthusiastic and hard-working Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab staff provide the university based scientific research information that will empower our local communities to grow and thrive.
6) We have the Ohio State University connections, diverse networking, and extensive collaborations necessary to tackle the numerous issues facing Lake Erie.
7) Our track record of 30 plus years of education, outreach, leadership and service to the Lake Erie community uniquely qualify Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab to provide Lake Erie programming to coastal clientele.
Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab’s local community based education and training developed on locally identified needs is targeted for achieving the best outcomes.
9) Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab have a diverse set of skilled credible educators and researchers that bring a wide set of talent and training to bear on the issues impacting the Lake Erie.
10) Individual actions can, do and will make a difference for the betterment of our great Lake Erie.
I am disappointed to report that the funding for Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab were zeroed out of the Governor's Budget. I view this as a failure on my part to adequately explain to elected officials about the value and impact of the work we do. I am attempting to correct that shortfall on my part now in the hopes that the State Legislature will restore our funding. We have had a line item in the State Budget every year since 1983. Our state funding peaked in 1999 at just over $300,000 per year and currently stands at $285,000 per year. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of NOAA and the federal funding that we receive from NOAA requires of non-federal match of $1 non-federal dollar per $2 federal dollars. Therefore, the state investment in the program buys a minimum of almost $600,000 federal dollars. We then strive to leverage these funds even further to maximize the benefit Ohio receives from the program and typically have been able to produce better than $15 per dollar invested by the state in our line item.
This state funding, while not a huge amount, is critically important to the operation and financial stability of Ohio Sea Grant and Stone Lab. It literally provides support to everything we do from our research, education, and outreach in Ohio Sea Grant to our teaching of courses, training students, and leading workshops, field trips, and conferences at Stone Lab. On the 30th anniversary of our first state funding, this cut comes at a very disappointing time as the program has never been better and the benefits that we are providing to the state, region, and country have never been greater.
• In 2012, we set a record for the number of students taking our courses at Stone Lab and the number of scientists using our research facilities to solve problems relating to nutrient loading and harmful algal blooms, invasive species, endangered species, sport fishing, and ecosystem restoration has never been higher. Furthermore, while Sea Grant and Stone Lab are part of The Ohio State University, the students and faculty in our courses come from all over the state and country, and w have supported grants at over 20 Ohio colleges and universities.
• The National Sea Grant College Program just completed their review of the 32 Sea Grant programs in the country (there is a Sea Grant program in every coastal state, including the Great Lakes) and Ohio Sea Grant was ranked as one of the top programs in the country far exceeding the expectations they place on us.
• Some of our current projects are working to enhance coastal economic development to restore our economy, prevent harmful algal blooms and thereby protect human health without harming agricultural production, eliminate beach closures, enhance the impact of tourism, improve science education in our schools, improve teacher preparedness, increase coastal property values, mitigate the impacts of climate change, improve water quality, and much more.
• In 2011 we coordinated 8 research projects involving 15 scientists form 11 universities and agencies in the US and Canada and submitted a summary report outlining steps needed to solve the harmful algal bloom problem.
• We are currently in the process of coordinating the development of a multi-university and agency monitoring program for Lake Erie.
• We are currently leading the state committee that is developing the nutrient loading targets for Lake Erie to solve the harmful algal bloom problem.
• We have upgraded our research and teaching facilities at Stone Lab to accommodate the increased need for solutions to problems such as asian carp, harmful algal bloom, nutrient loading, sedimentation, invasive species, toxic substances, etc.
• We have played and instrumental role in the cleanup of Ashtabula Harbor.
• We are leading the Clean Marina Program and the Clean Boater Program for Ohio.
• Our boat shrink-wrap recycling program is benefitting the environment, marinas along Lake Erie, and a business in Marrieta.
• We continue to support work to enhance sport and charter fishing opportunities on Lake Erie, protect and restore the Lake Erie ecosystem, enhance the impact of boating on tourism on Lake Erie, and protect human health.
• Approximately 20,000 people per year now visit our facilities at Stone Lab.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you need more information.
Jeffrey M. Reutter, Ph.D., Director
Ohio Sea Grant College Program
F.T. Stone Laboratory
Center for Lake Erie Area Research (CLEAR) and the
Great Lakes Aquatic Ecosystem Research Consortium (GLAERC)
The Ohio State University
Area 100 Research Center
1314 Kinnear Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43212
t: (614) 292-8949 | f: (614) 292-4364
ohioseagrant.osu.edu | stonelab.osu.edu