Great Lakes Today

Great Lakes Today, a collaboration of public media stations, was created to highlight issues affecting the lakes. The main partners are WBFO (Buffalo), ideastream (Cleveland) and WXXI (Rochester). Other stations in the region will also contribute reports. Great Lakes Today is funded through a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Ways to Connect

Just minutes after President Donald J. Trump took the oath of office Friday morning, changes began to take place -- starting with the government's website. The page dedicated to climate change was one of many revisions on whitehouse.gov.

This week marks the start of a break in the Great Lakes shipping season.  A time when lakes freeze over, the locks at Sault St. Marie shut down, and crews on big freighters go home to their families.  

But not everyone stops working.

 

Wisconsin's Department of Natural Resources is feeling the heat of public backlash for its stance on climate change.

Facts and information concerning climate change were deleted recently from the agency's website. Words like "climate change" and any references to greenhouse gases or human contributors also vanished.


Most shipping on the Great Lakes comes to a close with the Soo Locks shutdown on Sunday.  It’s the end of a rough year for cargo companies.

According to the Lake Carriers Association, Great Lakes freighters transported over 83 million tons of cargo in 2016. That was a 4.5 percent decline compared to 2015.

The association’s Glen Nekvasil says shipments rose in only one category.  “Iron ore was the one cargo that increased. It was up about 8 percent, and our grain cargoes were down almost 30 percent.”

For the first time in over 50 years, the U.S. and Canada are changing the way they regulate water levels on Lake Ontario. It’s an attempt to meet the changing needs of people who use the lake – from the shipping industry to environmentalists.

But homeowners fear the change may mean more flooding.


The U.S. government is seeking public comment on plans to protect historic shipwrecks by creating a new national marine sanctuary in Lake Michigan.

On Monday, Jan. 9, NOAA began taking comments on its plan to protect 1,075 square miles of the lake. 

Helen Domske is the senior coastal education specialist for New York Sea Grant and associate director of the University at Buffalo's Great Lakes Program. She's also an avid scuba diver, so we asked her about diving in the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes pollutant lurks in your laundry pile

Jan 3, 2017

The United States and Canada are moving to ban microbeads -- the tiny plastic bits in toothpaste and facewash that are big water polluters. Now scientists are focusing on a similar problem -- and it’s lurking in your laundry pile.

  

In just a few weeks, we’ll have a new presidential administration – and that could mean big changes for the Great Lakes.

Environmental groups are waiting to see how Donald Trump's administration handles issues that are crucial to the region.

Alliance for the Great Lakes

A new study from Rochester Institute of Technology tracks how much plastic is getting into the Great Lakes, and where it's going. Spoiler alert: It's a lot -- and it's in all five lakes. 


Environmentalists in Canada are taking a close look at water quality, and a new study by the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper highlights some serious problems.

Across the Great Lakes, 2016 brought a lot of conflict, with battles over water diversion, petroleum pipelines and other issues.  


It’s 6 A.M. when trucks and SUVS begin pulling into an empty parking lot in Girard, Pennsylvania, a town outside of Erie with about 3,000 people. The vehicles bear license plates from Ohio, Pennsylvania and Delaware.


A graduate student is catching attention on social media for some spreading some fish-themed holiday cheer.

Katherine O'Reilly recently came up with a way to share her love of marine life -- and puns -- on Twitter by creating the hashtag #25DaysofFishmas.

NEW YORK POWER AUTHORITY PHOTO /Ice boom installation 2015.

After several days of tough winter weather, crews finished up the installation of the Lake Erie/Niagara River Ice Boom Thursday.

Climate change is an issue of concern for many around the world. Scientists say the signs are everywhere. Here in the Great Lakes region, the evidence of regional climate change can be seen in every day.


Mark Mattson, the president of Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Swim Drink Fish Canada, has advice for keeping waters clean and safe.

Tuesday, a coalition of Great Lakes organizations sent a notice of intent to sue the U.S. EPA.  They say the agency isn’t moving fast enough to clean up Lake Erie.

The filing from conservation, environmental, and boating groups is the latest effort to designate western Lake Erie as an “impaired” body of water. 

Cleveland’s own Charles Brush created the world’s first electric wind turbine in the 1800’s. He used it to power his home. And since then, wind turbines have popped up all over the world -- but never in the Great Lakes.

That could change with Project Icebreaker, a six-turbine demonstration to be located eight to 10 miles off Cleveland’s shore.  


After seeing Donald Trump's appointees for agencies such as the EPA, Rep. Brian Higgins is concerned that the new administration will roll back environmental protections.

The Western New York Democrat is a longtime leader in revitalizing Buffalo's waterfront. In an interview Monday with WBFO, he noted that there have been have been many successes, including the revival of the once-dead Buffalo River.

"People have become complacent. ... " he added. "Now they're going to get blind-sided."

The deep freeze has arrived in Great Lakes states and that means one thing: It's time for the Lake Erie/Niagara River Ice Boom.


For most of the year, two ferries serve the village of Put-In-Bay, which sits on an island in Lake Erie. But in winter, ferry service stops and residents face a quieter, more isolated, lifestyle.


The Great Lakes region is getting another maritime-themed school -- this time in Cleveland.

 


The Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School will open in July with 100 to 120 9th graders for the school year, officials announced this week.

Every year, hundreds of volunteers work to clear plastic bags and other garbage from areas along the Great Lakes and its tributaries.


Congress' approval of a spending bill will renew funding for a program that aids Great Lakes waters and surrounding lands.

The political waters remain murky regarding the topic of climate change – after president-elect Donald Trump’s flip-flopping on the issue.


Have you ever wondered where road salt comes from? One source is the Whiskey Island Cargill Salt Mine, which lies far below the floor of Lake Erie.

Officials in the United States and Canada have approved a plan to allow the level of Lake Ontario to fluctuate more -- a change that has been opposed by some residents. 


The big, strong Chinook salmon is a favorite of anglers on the Great Lakes. But New York and Michigan are reducing the number of Chinook they stock in the lakes and some are worried it could hurt the region's sport fishing economy.


Pages