Pennsylvania Sea Grant


Pennsylvania enjoys abundant freshwater resources with more than 84,000 miles of streams, 76.6 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, many inland lakes and 57 miles of tidal coastline.  These resources are shared with many other states and Canada.

With a multitude of concerns, including: urban and suburban sprawl, agricultural and residential runoff, emerging contaminants, abandoned mines and wells, and new drilling in the Marcellus and Utica Shale, Pennsylvania also shares many challenges.

Pennsylvania Sea Grant (PASG) takes a collaborative watershed approach to examine the impact of these threats, which do not recognize political boundaries, and seeks solutions. Major Geographic Focus Areas include the Lake Erie, the Delaware River, and the  Susquehanna River watersheds.

PASG is dedicated to promoting the ecological and economic sustainability of Pennsylvania’s coastal resources through the development of science-based research, education, and extension programs. The staff has achieved many accomplishments and gained the respect of the Sea Grant Network including regional, national, and international recognition.

The PASG program was established in 1998 as a partnership between Penn State University, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). We are part of the National Sea Grant College Network, which sponsors research, education, training, and outreach projects to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of coastal resources. In 2008, the National Sea Grant Office elevated Pennsylvania’s program to Institutional status in recognition of its excellence in promoting the ecological and economic sustainability of the state’s coastal resources. PA Sea Grant stands ready to continue its mission to support the state in its efforts to protect and enhance important coastal regions.

Adaptation Work:

Pennsylvania Sea Sea Grant (PASG) addresses goals and focus areas that align with NOAA-National Sea Grant to effectively manage coastal and Great Lakes resources, and balance human needs with environmental health by: developing sound scientific information, facilitating an informed public and supporting inclusive decision-making.

Focus Areas include:

  • Healthy Coastal Ecosystems
  • Sustainable Coastal Development
  • Safe and sustainable seafood development
  • Hazard Resilience in coastal communities

Climate Change Adaptation

Pennyslvania Sea Grant is working with communities to formulate strategic plans to meet these challenges and is offering smart-growth planning and best management practices education for municipal officials so they can make informed decisions.

Examples of Climate Change Adaptation work

Climate Change in Delaware County: This project originated from the Delaware County Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk workshops, which was held in 2010. This workshop led local decision-makers, and staff through the process of identifying climate related hazards, risks, and vulnerabilities that could impact their societies, economies, infrastructure, and ecosystem resources.

Climate Change and Climate Adaptation in Erie PA: In the face of observed and predicted impacts of climate change, many cities and states are engaging in systematic adaptation planning efforts to ensure that government agencies, businesses, and community organizations are working together to improve the resiliency of their communities. By anticipating and planning for the long-term impacts of a changing climate, Erie and the broader region can minimize and manage the adverse impacts on public health, local infrastructure, economic vitality, and our treasured natural environment.

Evaluating the risks of non-native species: This study explores the vulnerability of Pennsylvania’s aquatic ecosystems to the movement and establishment of non-native species responding to changing thermal regimes. It addresses the question of which species currently south of Pennsylvania have the greatest potential to expand their ranges northward and establish in Pennsylvania based on the temperature changes predicted in two Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emission scenarios.

Phone Number: 814.217.9011