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Marine Law & Policy





The Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program is one of four Sea Grant Legal Programs in the nation, and the only one in New England.

Housed at the Marine Affairs Institute at the Roger Williams University School of Law since 2003, the program is a national clearinghouse for marine law and policy and prepares law students entering the exciting filed of ocean and coastal law through the Law Fellow Program. 


To provide legal expertise on ocean and coastal-related issues and prepare the next generation of marine law professionals.

Rhode Island Sea Grant Law Fellow Program


The Rhode Island Sea Grant Law Fellow Program is an experiential education opportunity in which Law Fellows research and analyze marine law issues requested by outside professional organizations, under the guidance of Marine Affairs Institute staff.



Students are eligible to become Law Fellows after their first year of study, and projects are typically completed in one semester, though some projects last more than one semester. Outside organizations requesting Law Fellow assistance may include government agencies, nonprofit groups, and corporations. Project topics cover the full range of ocean, coastal, and maritime topics and may focus on local, regional, national, or even international law. The Rhode Island Sea Grant Law Fellow Program does not litigate or advocate.


Julia Wyman, Legal Program Director


Coastal Resilience Overlays in Community Planning: Building Resilience in Bristol County, RI

Understanding the North Atlantic Right Whale Litigation

Legal Issues Affecting Blue Carbon Projects on Publicly-Owned Coastal Wetlands

Legal Requirements for Equitable Design and Implementation of Flood Buyout Programs in Rhode Island

Climate Change and Dam Owner Liability 

Couple examines frozen seafood at supermarket

Legal Implications of “Organic” Seafood Labeling Based on Foreign Standards

Takings Implications of Offshore Wind Energy Development

Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

The Sea Grant Knauss Fellowship provides a unique educational experience to graduate students who have an interest in ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.

The Fellowship, named after one of Sea Grant’s founders, former NOAA Administrator and Dean of URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography, John A. Knauss, matches highly qualified graduate students with “hosts” in the legislative and executive branch of government located in the Washington, D.C., area, for a one-year paid fellowship.

For more information, please contact Kim Ohnemus or visit the National Sea Grant website. 

CONTACT: Kim Ohnemus | kohnemus@uri.edu

RI Sea Grant sends four grads to D.C. for Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship

Four grad students from diverse academic backgrounds will work on ocean and coastal policy as Knauss Fellows in Congress and the Executive branch.

Coastal Resilience Overlays for Bristol County

Coastal resilience overlays may be a useful tool in helping communities become more resilient.

Municipal Parking and Public Shoreline Access

Availability of parking near public rights-of-way to the shoreline is key to allowing meaningful access, but it’s also controversial.

A Day in the Life of a Knauss Legislative Fellow

Sea Grant Knauss Legislative Fellow uses comics to document her experience on the Hill.

Understanding the North Atlantic Right Whale Litigation

The legality of the American lobster, Jonah crab, gillnet, and other fisheries in waters off New England is being challenged as a threat to North Atlantic Right Whales, the most endangered species on the planet.

University of Rhode Island Sends Three Grads to D.C. for Sea Grant Knauss Fellowships

Recent grad students will spend 1 year in Washington D.C. working on ocean and coastal policy in Congress and the Executive branch.

How to Protect Wetlands & Combat Climate Change for a Century

Publicly owned wetlands are being eyed for long-term carbon reduction.

Buyout Programs Leave Homeowners and Renters at a Loss

Years-long waits for relief are just one of the problems facing federal buyout programs.

Dam Liability New Climate Issue in Rhode Island

New study by the Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program looks at the legal liability of dam owners as the risk for dam failure grows, increasing the risk of damages to life and property.

Takings Implications of Offshore Wind Energy Development

Rhode Island Sea Grant Law Fellows look at the legal challenges to offshore wind projects by coastal property owners.

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