Great Lakes

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

A board that helps oversee the level of Lake Ontario says that while water levels across the lake and the St. Lawrence River have begun their typical spring rise, conditions are a lot better than they were a year ago. There were months of very high lake levels and shoreline damage in 2017.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

New York State lawmakers have included $40 million in this year's budget to help property owners who are still cleaning up from last year's flooding along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Last year, flooding along Lake Ontario caused millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses. And  in some areas, it drove people from their homes for months.

One neighborhood in Hamlin, N.Y., was hit particularly hard. Now, residents in the community near Rochester say they fear another harsh flood season.


Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is asking the International Joint Commission to maximize outflows of water from Lake Ontario.

Scientists say climate change affects everything from weather patterns to animal migrations. And now, a popular breakfast condiment could be at risk as well – maple syrup. That’s bad news for the Great Lakes region, which produces a lot of it.


Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Regulators are pushing a record amount of water out of Lake Ontario to avoid a repeat of last year's flooding.

In northern Michigan, people who live near a landfill have been dealing with contaminated drinking water for decades. A new plan for the landfill makes them even more concerned.

North County Public Radio

Floodgates are being opened at a New York Power Authority dam in Massena to spill excess water from Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River.

Wisconsin factory sparks concern for Great Lakes water use

Mar 7, 2018

Foxconn Technology's plans for a Wisconsin factory were announced last summer with great fanfare. President Donald Trump led a White House event highlighting the factory that Foxconn says could eventually employ 13,000 people.


Many advocates for the Great Lakes are in Washington, D.C., this week to push back against President Trump's proposal to slash funding for the region. They want Congress to continue its bipartisan support on issues such as cleaning up pollution and protecting drinking water.

In his lab at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, Greg Boyer stands beside his mass spectrometer. This machine is analyzing the chemical makeup of algae samples, specifically, those that produce deadly toxins.


by ANGELICA A. MORRISON

Out on farmland in western New York, near the shore of Lake Erie, is Five & 20 Spirits and Brewing. Here, they make more than just booze. They also raise fish.


President Trump pushed Monday to slash funding for the Great Lakes -- repeating a move he made last year.

Trump released a budget proposal that would slash funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $300 million annually to $30 million.

Every winter outdoor enthusiasts gather on Black Lake in Cheboygan County Michigan, not far from Lake Huron, on a crusade to catch the state threatened prehistoric fish.


The Great Lakes Waterways Conference is this week in downtown Cleveland.  Sessions over the two-day meeting will focus on autonomous technology, government partnerships, and Great Lakes developments.

New plant in Toledo will increase shipping for city's port

During the summer, Lake Erie’s western basin is full of boaters and tourists, especially near the islands that lie west of Cleveland. But come winter, the lake is empty, still, and sometimes frozen.

This is the drive behind Julia Christensen’s newest art project, Waiting for a Break.


A group of workers from the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario pile discarded Christmas trees onto an organic barrier used to block the Common Carp from entering the wetland area.

Copyright 2018 Great Lakes Today. To see more, visit Great Lakes Today.

This has to be one of the most Zen-like videos of the year: a snowy owl riding the icy waves of Lake Ontario. Now, it's a hit on social media. 

On Lake Superior, wolves and their prey are starring in a pair of life-or-death dramas. 

On a Canadian island, wolves threaten to wipe out a once-strong herd of caribou -- triggering rescue efforts. Across the lake, on the U.S. side, the decline of a wolf pack has led to a skyrocketing moose population -- and pleas to import more wolves.  

Bill Nehez/CSU Cleveland Memory Project

Would you want an industrial waste dump near your house? Probably not. But across the country, environmental hazards like waste dumps tend to be located near minority communities.


If you like ice, you have to love the Great Lakes, where it comes in all shapes and sizes. With the recent deep freeze, we're seeing a lot more ice than in the past few winters -- including a frosty Niagara Falls. ​Here's a look at some unusual shapes and sizes:

Finger Lakes Construction and Diving

The Marshall Island flagged Federal Biscay was finally dislodged from ice in the Snell lock near Massena this weekend. St. Lawrence Seaway crews, including three tugs, had worked for five days to move the massive international freighter. It was blocking passage for four other ships on their way down the St. Lawrence River to Montreal as the Seaway tries to close for the winter.

Michelle Laffin

Prolonged arctic cold is wreaking havoc on the maritime industry across the Great Lakes. The latest problem: A commercial freighter is stuck in ice in a lock near Massena, N.Y., and it's preventing the St. Lawrence Seaway from closing for the winter.

A new year brings new opportunities for recreation and commercial interests along the Great Lakes. It also means seven gubernatorial elections in states that border the lakes, and growing concern over climate change.

Great Lakes Today asked environmental groups and others for their thoughts on 2017 -- and what’s to come in the new year. One issue stood out: the wide gap between regional interests and the Trump administration. 

Flooding along Lake Ontario. A sunken ship. Eerie waves. A dissected Asian carp. All images from a memorable 2017 -- and part of Great Lakes Today reporting that ranged from Montreal to Duluth. Take a look at our favorite photos of the year. 

This year brought with it a few threats to Great Lakes health -- an above average algae bloom and an Asian carp sighting.  But a financial threat also loomed over the lakes this year. 


On the Great Lakes, boat and ship traffic is slowing down for the winter.  Meanwhile, in Cleveland, residents have a chance to watch Lake Erie change as ice builds up -- and breaks up.


The past year was loaded with turmoil for the Great Lakes. A new president tried to cut $300 million in  restoration projects. Homes were flooded along Lake Ontario. And one of the scariest invasive species -- the Asian carp -- was found less than 10 miles from Lake Michigan.

Here's a look at some of the biggest stories that Great Lakes Today brought you -- from New York to Minnesota, as well as the provinces of Quebec and Ontario. 

Over the years, pollution has been seen as a big threat to fish in the Great Lakes. Now, a data scientist says that might not always be the case.


The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River make up the world's biggest freshwater system -- and an enormously valuable resource. It supplies drinking water for millions of residents and powers the region's economy.

Last year, 42 million gallons were withdrawn from the basin each day, according to a new report from the Great Lakes Commission. Here's where it went.

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