OSWEGO – New York Sea Grant now has two additional extension staff ready to help Great Lakes region residents and community leaders deal with coastal processes and hazards and develop Watercraft Inspection Steward programs.
New York Sea Grant Coastal Processes and Hazards Specialist Heather Weitzner and New York Sea Grant Extension Aide Brittney Rogers will be based in the Cornell Cooperative Extension Wayne County office in Newark, New York.
Weitzner brings an educational background in coastal and ocean engineering and professional experience as a coastal researcher and consultant to this New York Sea Grant position.
She will be providing residents with assistance and educational outreach on issues associated with coastal erosion, shoreline management and mitigation and infrastructure.
Weitzner will be traveling the Great Lakes shoreline of New York with NYSG staff in the coming weeks to meet coastal processes stakeholders and learn more about their interests and needs.
She will be educating stakeholders about coastal resiliency opportunities and connecting them with state and federal best management practices resources.
Weitzner will be developing the request for proposals for new NYSG mini-grants made possible through the Great Lakes Action Agenda.
Brittney Rogers served as the New York Sea Grant Chief Launch Steward in 2014 providing aquatic invasive species information to boaters and teaching them how they can prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. She will provide training to groups interested in starting a new watercraft inspection program or standardizing an existing one.
Rogers will assist New York Sea Grant Coastal Community Development Specialist Mary Austerman, author of the New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook, with developing best management practices for steward programs.
Austerman is based at SUNY Oswego, Oswego.
Rogers will also be developing a web-based go-to resource addressing Great Lakes coastal issues vital to shoreline communities in New York.
New York Sea Grant Associate Director Dr. Katherine Bunting-Howarth said, “We are extremely pleased to have another office location within the Great Lakes Basin for our extension personnel. The Wayne County Extension office will be a centrally located base from which Heather and Brittney can share their knowledge, expertise and assistance to benefit the Great Lakes residents of New York State.”
Cornell Cooperative Extension Wayne County Executive Director Beth Claypoole said, “It is exciting to see the close relationship that we now have with the regional and statewide Sea Grant program. There are numerous projects in the Sodus Bay and Lake Ontario Basins that have needed expertise unavailable at the local level until now. The New York Sea Grant Great Lakes Extension program is a welcome addition to our research-based resources that we provide through Cornell Cooperative Extension to our citizens.”
Funding to support these outreach positions is made possible by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and Article 14 of Environmental Conservation Law as well as the Great Lakes Program of the New York State Department of Environment Conservation and US Fish and Wildlife Service Great Lakes Restoration Initiative monies to the Finger Lakes-Lake Ontario Watershed Protection Alliance.
New York Sea Grant, a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Through its statewide network of integrated research and educational services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness about the state’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.