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National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Symposium

May 14, 2018 @ 9:00 am - May 17, 2018 @ 12:00 pm

The National Working Waterfronts & Waterways Symposium is the crown jewel of the National Working Waterfront Network. People from across the United States attend the symposium to connect with one another and showcase (and initiate) innovative solutions to their waterfront issues. The ultimate goal of the symposium, and the Network, is to increase the capacity of saltwater- and freshwater-based coastal communities and for stakeholders to make informed decisions, balance diverse uses, ensure access, and plan for the future of their working waterfronts. Working waterfronts include waterfront lands, waterfront infrastructure, and waterways that are used for water-dependent activities, such as ports, marinas, small recreational boat harbors, fishing docks, and hundreds of other places across the country where people use and access the water.

Michigan Sea Grant is hosting the 5th National Symposium. By design, the triennial symposium moves around the country to highlight the diversity of our nation’s working waterfronts; to foster a cross-fertilization of ideas, knowledge, and solutions; and to generate strategic partnerships.

The symposium provides a forum for stakeholders from across the U.S. to connect and showcase innovative, successful, and timely solutions to waterfront and waterway issues.

Invited speakers include U.S. Senator Gary Peters and Jon Allan, Director of the Michigan Office of the Great Lakes. Nicole Faghin, Chair of the National Working Waterfront Network, will present along with dozens of experts on a diverse set of working waterfront topics.

Discussion topics include recreational boating and harbors, infrastructure, commercial fisheries and aquaculture, and maritime culture and heritage. The program also will feature field trips to working waterfronts in several Michigan communities. Bus tours to MuskegonSouth Haven, or Saugatuck and Grand Haven will give attendees a sense of working waterfronts in the Great Lakes. A walking tour of Grand Rapids will showcase efforts to restore the city’s waterfront.

Prior to the event, NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management is offering a full-day hands-on workshop on estimating and analyzing the local working waterfront economy.

To learn more about the event, pre-symposium training, and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.nationalworkingwaterfronts.com.

Purpose of the Symposium

  • To connect and unite stakeholders from across the U.S., and to showcase (and initiate) innovative, successful, and timely solutions to waterfront and waterway issues.
  • To provide attendees an opportunity to network with others who are involved in the same types of professional issues and, together, develop strategies, timelines, funding sources, and regional alliances to address them.

The 2018 Symposium will use several presentation formats to create an educational and interactive forum where emerging ideas, best practices, and information may be shared.

Program Structure

The symposium will consist of:

  • Plenary Sessions, which will feature leaders and keynote presenters from the working waterfronts and waterways community.
  • Traditional Concurrent Sessions, which will be comprised of 15-20-minute speaker talks accompanied by PowerPoint presentations. Concurrent sessions will be arranged from individual abstracts submitted on similar topics.
  • Strategic Planning Meeting, which will take advantage of our time together to collaborate and develop strategic plans for the working waterfronts and waterways community moving forward.



Rhett Register, Michigan Sea Grant communications program leader,

(734) 647-0767rregist@umich.edu


May 14, 2018 @ 9:00 am
May 17, 2018 @ 12:00 pm