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

The head of the National Museum of the Great Lakes is on a quest. He’s trying to locate Navy pilots who trained on Lake Michigan during World War II. It’s a little known chapter of the lake’s history.


Advocates for the Great Lakes are watching the presidential election and hoping the next U.S. president will continue to prioritize restoration across the region.

 

Can we sell cattails -- and save wetlands?

Oct 31, 2016

Standing in the middle of Michigan's Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, it’s hard to comprehend the size. It’s about two-thirds the size of Manhattan – some 10,000 acres of marshes and bogs, forest and farm land.

Everywhere you look; there’s a hawk or a heron. Bushes rustle with rodents; and the air is filled with mosquitos.

Here, researchers are tackling invasive cattails -- a common problem in wetlands across the Great Lakes.  

The Great Lakes Commission created a web tool designed to prevent sales of aquatic invasive species over the Internet. Now, the commission is working to get it into the hands of state and federal regulators.


Erosion threatens homes on Lake Michigan

Oct 24, 2016

Randy Vassh maneuvers an excavator in tandem with his co-worker at a lakefront home in the village of Caledonia, Wisc. 


This week marks the 100th anniversary of the "Black Friday Storm," a swirl of rain, wind and waves that left about 50 people dead on Lake Erie.

Invasive species -- ranging from sea lamprey to Asian carp -- are a constant concern in the Great Lakes region, and the fear of these aquatic creatures often dominates headlines.

The problem of storm water overflows has been a sore spot for many communities across the Great Lakes. Here in Erie County, the issue was on the table during a panel discussion about Green Infrastructure in the Buffalo-Niagara Region.

A new conference coming to Cleveland will offer a chance to “hack” Lake Erie for innovations and resolutions to the lake’s issues and problems.


With thousands of teams all around the world, dragon boat racing has become a fast-growing sport.  It’s also popular in the US and Canada, with festivals and races in places like Cleveland, Vancouver, and Buffalo.  There’s a surprising bond with one group in particular – cancer survivors.


Split pea soup – that’s how some folks describe the Great Lakes back when it was plagued by contamination, pollution and algae. A lot has changed since then.


A program to fund restoration and remediation projects in the Great Lakes region has an uncertain future.

A cove on the South Shore of Lake Ontario near Rochester, New York called Buck Pond is undergoing a transformation.


by ANGELICA A. MORRISON

Environmental groups are continuing their work to revive habitats along the Great Lakes corridor.

The issue of storm water runoff has plagued waterways in Great Lakes states for years. Areas like Toronto on Lake Ontario, the Buffalo River in Western New York and the Maumee River in Ohio are just a few examples.


Big changes are on the horizon for the western end of Lake Erie.

It's the nation's very first fresh water wind farm. The project known as Icebreaker, consists of six wind turbines located 8 to 10 miles offshore north of Cleveland.

Steel Winds farm, Lackawanna, NY

It’s easy to list the benefits of renewable energy, but calculating the costs can be difficult, like the impact on birds.


Elizabeth Miller

A big threat to the Great Lakes comes from outdated sewer systems that can carry bacteria into waterways.  That can lead to closed beaches and warnings about drinking water. Now, some cities are fighting back – with trees.


Dogs sniff out pollution along Great Lakes

Sep 26, 2016

In the town of Bridgman, Mich., investigators Sable and Kenna sniff samples from storm water drains near a beach. Sable is a 10-year-old German Shepherd. Kenna, a Golden Retriever, is 2.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump threw their support behind the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Thursday via surrogates speaking at a conference in Sandusky, Ohio.

Each campaign's representative spoke separately at the Great Lakes Restoration Conference.  They answered questions about harmful algal blooms, Asian carp, and clean water.                                                          

Each summer, many beaches along the Great Lakes are shut down because the waters have high bacteria levels.  But figuring out exactly when to close a beach is difficult, and scientists are trying out a new test that could lead to safer swimming.


The U.S. and Canada announced Wednesday that they have finalized a plan for restoring and protecting Lake Superior's water quality.

A 96-page document from the Lake Superior Partnership outlines major threats such as invasive species and climate change. It also lists priorities for preserving the relatively clean waters, including ending the release of nine toxic substances.

Ken Merryman

An eerie video takes you deep into Lake Superior, where a century-old shipwreck lies, with masts and rigging nearly intact. Explorers Ken Merryman, Jerry Eliason and Kraig Smith recently used a remote camera to photograph their find: the 187-foot Antelope. The coal-hauling freighter sank in rough waters in October, 1897.

On the Atwater Farm, a commercial dairy farm near Lake Ontario, the sound of diesel trucks thunders through the air as they bring in loads of harvested corn for cow feed. 


Plastic debris is pervasive in the waters that feed the Great Lakes, according to a new study published by the United States Geological Survey.

 

 

If you're a Great Lakes geek, you've got to love @twoyellowbuoys on Twitter.  The cheeky account is loaded with data and photos courtesy of a pair of buoys stationed on Lake Michigan by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. We wanted to know more about the buoys -- Michigan City and Wilmette -- so we asked them for an interview. They managed to squeeze it in between taking measurements and enjoying the sunsets.

Nick Maxwell, WBFO News

A local environmental group gained international recognition Tuesday. The Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper received the Thiess International Riverprize for its restoration work on the Niagara River and surrounding watershed.

Every weekend James Rice goes for a walk, but it’s not just any walk. He’s on a mission to educate anglers about the safest way to consume fish caught in Western New York.

Draken Harald Hårfagre

The replica Viking ship Draken Harald Hårfagre has sailed out of the Great Lakes, wrapping up a contentious visit.

Veronica Volk

Some of the migratory songbirds that pass through the Great Lakes region are already on the move, and volunteers at the Braddock Bay Bird Observatory are preparing for them.


Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority

Each year, ports on the Great Lakes dredge tons of material to keep shipping lanes open. But disposing of the spoils is a big problem. The Port of Toledo has a creative approach: farming.

The Port of Toledo dredges more sediment than any port on the Great Lakes – up to a million cubic yards every year.  The idea of reusing sediment as soil for agriculture is new for the Great Lakes region and ideal for Lake Erie’s western basin.

National Park Service

Mayors of 123 American and Canadian cities are challenging a Wisconsin city’s plan to divert water from Lake Michigan. This is in direct opposition to the Great Lakes governors who approved the precedent-setting request in June. 

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