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.

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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A big threat to the Great Lakes comes from outdated sewer systems that can carry bacteria into waterways.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. 

by Angelica A. Morrison

Each summer, bacteria can force beaches on the Great Lakes to close. Now researchers are battling the bacteria with a genetic-based process.

Ben Thorp

Alpena, Mich. -- The research vessel Storm sits in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary -- in water is so clear you can just make out the bottom. Divers prep their gear on deck and then sink into the waters of Lake Huron.


PHOTO: LBJ Presidential Library / PHOTO: LBJ Presidential Library

It’s been decades since Lake Erie was considered dead due to years of industrial pollution. President Lyndon B. Johnson was a powerful force in bringing Lake Erie back to life and changing the fate of the Great Lakes for the better.


Elizabeth Miller

Heavy winds didn’t stop the hundreds gathered to watch the Port Clinton lighthouse make a half-mile journey down the Portage River to its new home on Lake Erie. The 120-year-old lighthouse has been an enduring symbol for Port Clinton, a town west of Cleveland. 
 

Fans followed the path of the 12,000-pound lighthouse Tuesday as it traveled by boat and truck, lifted by a crane three times. It had been sitting for more than 50 years at a nearby marina. 

Elizabeth Miller

Last part of series

With dangerous currents a fact of life along the Great Lakes, officials are looking for ways to limit the number of drownings. 


Jim Kennard

Rochester-based explorers say they have located the Washington, a sloop that sank more than 200 years ago off the coast of Oswego, N.Y.


Elizabeth Miller

Third part of a series

Dangerous currents and drownings go hand-in hand across the Great Lakes. But many are concentrated in Southwest Michigan’s Berrien Co.


Michigan Sea Grant

Second part of a series

Powerful currents on the Great Lakes have caused more than 150 drownings since 2002, according to researchers. And those currents can appear suddenly, says Mark Breederland, an educator with Michigan Sea Grant.

Elizabeth Miller

First part of a series

In her family’s backyard overlooking Lake Erie, Melissa Zirkle watched as her son Jermaine joined some friends in the water. On that July day in 2013, she was building steps in the backyard.

“I kept looking and checking on him, and he was standing in the water and he was laughing, having fun with the other kids,” Zirkle says, recalling the scene along Ohio's shoreline. “Then about two minutes later, I heard cries for help.”

More marine sanctuaries coming to Great Lakes

Aug 11, 2016

At the H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego, N.Y., a popular exhibit is Derrick Boat 8, which came to rest at the bottom of Lake Ontario in 1984.


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