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

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.


The Great Lakes have their own miniature version of tsunamis – more than 100 times per year.  That’s according to new research led by the University of Wisconsin Madison.  The name of these waves – and the danger that comes with them – are relatively unknown to those in the region. 


New heat maps from NOAA show the startling change in water temperatures across the Great Lakes this year.

Back in 2014, the heat map shows a bluish scene, illustrating cool temperatures. But this year, the map in late November temps is all yellows and oranges.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The 144-year-old shipwreck of a rare sailing vessel that typically wasn't used for long voyages on the Great Lakes has been found in deep water off Lake Ontario's New York shore, according to two underwater explorers.

Western New York-based explorers Jim Kennard and Roger Pawlowski announced Friday that they identified the wreck as the Black Duck in September, three years after initially coming across it while using side-scan sonar in 350 feet of water off Oswego, New York.

An upcoming conference in Cleveland will tackle marine debris, the pieces of plastic that wash up on the river, ocean, or Great Lake shores.  It's a issue that has affected the health and appearances of beaches around the world.  Marine debris can be anything in the lake that’s not supposed to be there – plastic bottles, grocery bags, or balloons.  It has a deadly effect on wildlife, especially birds.  

Meet the man who turned off the American Falls.

Col. Amos Wright is a retired US Army solider and engineer.  He and his wife Gloria live in Provo, Utah, where he spends time perfecting his golf game.


Michael Keene is author of the book, The Psychic Highway: How the Erie Canal Changed America. He describes how this sprawling transportation system changed the world, not just by transporting goods and people, but also ideas.

Michael Keene is author of the book, The Psychic Highway: How the Erie Canal Changed America. He describes how this sprawling transportation system changed the world, not just by transporting goods and people, but also ideas.

With so much written about the Erie Canal already, what made you decide to write this book?

Parks officials in New York are planning a project of historic significance: temporarily shutting off the American Falls.

That will dramatically alter a natural wonder that attracts millions of tourists from around the world.

The National Weather Service says the season's first lake effect snow is likely this weekend. That could be a harsh beginning to winter.

In the Great Lakes region, the effect kicks in when dry arctic air speeds over large expanses of warm water.

At the Maritime Academy of Toledo, students learn basics like math and English. They also take classes on  boatbuilding.

On a fall day in the boat lab, a few students are working on the inside of a small wooden boat. They’re gluing pieces of wood together along the inside of the boat before sanding it down.

What's killing birds on Lake Michigan?

Nov 14, 2016
Sam Corden

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is famous for its natural beauty.

But on this November day, the beach is littered with about two dozen dead birds: scoters, loons, ducks and others.


What's killing birds on Lake Michigan?

Nov 14, 2016

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is famous for its natural beauty.

But on this November day, the beach is littered with about two dozen dead birds: scoters, loons, ducks and others.

Donald Trump's election victory came with plenty of support from the Great Lakes region -- unofficial returns show him winning five of the eight states.

But in the aftermath of the election, environmental advocates were trying to determine how his presidency will affect the region, especially in light of his pledge to defund the Environmental Protection Agency.

A $500,000 fine in a federal consent decree is the latest environmental penalty for a Pennsylvania coke company based on the Lake Erie shoreline.

And the fine -- which mirrors penalties at a sister plant near Buffalo -- is the latest reminder of the toxic industrial legacy of the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes are much warmer than usual, and that will be a factor in limiting ice formation this winter, the National Weather Service says in its "freeze-up outlook."

 

An analysis out this week from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that algae blooms were "fewer, less dense, and less toxic" this year than in 2014 or 2015.

That's good news for the region, because the blooms can cause sickness in people and animals. They also can create problems in treating drinking water.

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.

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