I’m pleased to note that Washington Sea Grant (WSG) recently completed its quadrennial external site review. This review is crucial, as the outcome will determine WSG’s eligibility to continue receiving federal funding from NOAA over the next four years. Preparing for the review was an “all-hands-on-deck” effort that engaged the entire WSG team for the past several months.
The reviewers were an impressive team that included:
Joshua Brown, Pacific Regional Lead, NOAA Sea Grant
Carol Engle, National Sea Grant Advisory Board
Chris Winslow, Director, Ohio Sea Grant
Lynne Chronister, Vice President for Research and Economic Development, University of South Alabama
Kristen Koch, Director, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA
The review was very comprehensive and focused on leadership, program management, how we operate our research and outreach activities as a unified team, the level of state and university support, our effectiveness in engaging with stakeholders and partners, and the overall level of performance.
In addition to WSG staff and the review team, we had over 115 other participants ranging from the Governor’s Office, experts from multiple state and federal agencies, University of Washington senior leadership, academic scientists, tribal representatives, fishermen and shellfish growers, non-governmental organizations, students, and educators.
The participants engaged in discussions about their relationship with WSG and the value they see in our work. This included Larry Campbell, Sr., Wanaseah, community health specialist for the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, who spoke of WSG’s role in collaborating with tribal members as they work to build greater resilience to climate change. It included Marty Stump, deputy director of planning and developing for Metro Parks Tacoma, who shared how WSG’s sea-level rise projections helped Tacoma design public spaces to last for generations. Libby Cain, a fisherman based in Westport, WA, talked about how WSG’s safety at sea training helped save her life when her boat caught on fire.
At the completion of the review, the review team was very impressed, although we will not receive the official results of the review for a few more weeks. Regardless, from my perspective the review was a success. I was inspired by the many stories of WSG’s impact over the past several years, from the results of cutting-edge research that we funded to the impressive outreach and communications events and materials we produced.
It also provided a rare opportunity to step back and reflect upon what we can do better to serve you, the state of Washington. We’re already looking forward to the next four years.
Russell Callender, WSG Director