Program and People News
Hurley Leads Sea Grant Association
As of Jan. 1, Wisconsin Sea Grant Director Jim Hurley made the official transition from president-elect of the Sea Grant Association (SGA), a role he has held since 2015, to president, a role he will hold for the next two years.
Hurley assumes the presidency of the 33-member organization at a critical time in the program’s history. In March, President Donald Trump’s preliminary budget called for the elimination of federal funding to Sea Grant. The loss of such funding would threaten the survival of most of the Sea Grant programs – including Wisconsin’s.
Shortly after the budget news was announced, Hurley traveled to Washington to meet with the other directors to develop a strategic response and begin meeting with members of Congress. Unlike the National Sea Grant Organization and the National Sea Grant Advisory Board, the other two legs of the Sea Grant Network, the SGA is the only one that can lobby Congress on issues of authorization and appropriation.
“I’m following in the footsteps of some great leaders,” said Hurley of his new role. “And I’m working with some amazing people.”
Hurley said he’s proud of and confident about Sea Grant’s critical role in supporting state and coastal economies.
“The term “resilience’ is one where Sea Grant can show that it’s a major player, whether it’s economic resilience, coastal resilience or resilience to change,” said Hurley. “Here in Wisconsin, three years ago there were record low water levels in Lake Michigan. Today we’re at record highs. The issues of resiliency may be different in Wisconsin, but they’re all based on the same type of principles, and Sea Grant can play a big part in that. We have people on the ground already. They’re in the coastal areas. They’re trusted. They respond to the stakeholder needs. In coastal areas, Sea Grant should be the go-to, because we have a track record of success.”
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