Delaware Sea Grant named among best in nation

2:42 p.m., May 15, 2007--The Delaware Sea Grant College Program has earned high honors from a national review panel, which recently commended the program for “outstanding work” and “exceptional performance and productivity.”

Delaware Sea Grant is part of a nationwide network, administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), of 32 Sea Grant College Programs that work with coastal communities. Each program conducts scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources.

Since the University of Delaware was named the nation's ninth Sea Grant College in 1976, the program has conducted research on multiple issues including beach erosion, fisheries decline, seafood safety, beach valuation and coastal flooding. The program also has educated hundreds of graduate students in marine science and extended research-based information to the public through its Marine Advisory Service and Marine Public Education Office.

“The evaluators' high marks are a reward for the hard work and dedication of our researchers and outreach staff, as well as the staunch support provided by the State of Delaware, our Sea Grant Advisory Council and the many citizens, agencies and industries that work with us,” Nancy Targett, Sea Grant director and dean of UD's College of Marine and Earth Studies, said.

The review panel included experts in research, fisheries, outreach and education appointed by NOAA's National Sea Grant College Program. The panel evaluated Delaware Sea Grant in 14 categories falling within the broad areas of program organization and management, reaching out to constituents, program planning and producing results. Delaware Sea Grant achieved highest performance ratings in 13 of the 14 categories.

The review panel's final report specifically commended Delaware Sea Grant for its ability to secure additional funding from outside its primary funding sources-NOAA, the State of Delaware and the University of Delaware. “Our appeal to other funding sources is a strong testament to the quality of our work and the support of our many partners,” Targett said. “It also enables us to recruit and retain an outstanding staff of scientists, educators and outreach specialists.”

The report complimented Delaware Sea Grant on connecting with different constituency groups throughout the state and region. The review panel particularly noted “the progress that has been made in recent years to address growth issues along the coast” thanks in part to program efforts to reach out to local and state governments, tourism and commerce organizations, environmental groups and other constituents.

Delaware Sea Grant was recognized for its Coast Day open house, held annually at the Lewes campus. The event serves as an important forum for the dissemination of marine information to the public and has earned state and national awards for environmental education.

The review panel praised Delaware Sea Grant for advancing science and outreach in the priority areas of ecosystems, environmental technologies and engineering, biotechnology, marine commerce and transportation and marine education. The panel was particularly impressed with the program's solicitation of public feedback when developing its strategic plan.

The panel noted that Delaware Sea Grant produces an impressive number of peer reviewed scientific articles, widely considered an indicator of quality research. Program research has also generated six patents that are either active or pending. In addition to crediting the program's scientific research, the review panel also complimented Delaware Sea Grant's many outreach materials and activities related to coastal resources and issues-some of which have been adopted by groups outside the state. These efforts, wrote the reviewers, demonstrate “the significant and beneficial impact that (Delaware Sea Grant) has on the state.”

Despite the arduous review process, Targett said she was pleased with the result. “The review gave us independent confirmation that the Delaware Sea Grant College Program is among the nation's best,” she said.

For more information about Delaware Sea Grant, visit the web site [].