Great Lakes

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

The United States Geological Survey has added a new research vessel to its Great Lakes fleet, which will help monitor the health of Lake Ontario.

The new boat replaces a boat that was in use for fifty years and was finally decommissioned a couple years ago. The Research Vessel Kaho, which means searcher or hunter in Ojibwe, was commissioned and christened in Oswego Wednesday morning, even though it's been in use since last year.

Martin Abegglen / Flickr

The United States is not yet generating a watt of energy from commercial offshore wind. A couple of years ago, it looked like the Great Lakes might lead the nation. Pennsylvania was among a handful of states working with federal agencies to speed up the process.  As recently as a couple of months ago, construction of a wind farm in Lake Erie, off the Ohio shoreline near Cleveland, looked promising. But now some are sounding the death knell for any wind development in the Great Lakes.

Center for Environmental Initiatives

Community members from across western New York came together in Rochester Thursday to address the issue of pollution in the Genesee River, and create an action plan for the immediate future.

The summit, run by the Center for Environmental Initiatives, was spurred by a new study which suggests human activity along the Genesee River Basin is having a direct impact on the water quality in Lake Ontario.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

The threat of Asian Carp entering the Great Lakes has been talked about for years. While the potential of the invasive species on the lakes has not been fully determined, environmentalists are concerned the fish could hurt the lakes' ecosystem.

Dave White, with New York Sea Grant, says big head and silver carp have been detected very close to the Great Lakes, so the risk of a flood introducing them into the lakes is always present.

Should a ship be deliberately sunk in Lake Ontario?

Oct 4, 2013
Vlad Litvinov / Flickr

The possibility of deliberately sinking a ship in Lake Ontario will be discussed at a seminar Saturday at SUNY Oswego. Dave White, of New York Sea Grant, which is hosting the conference, says sinking a vessel along the shoreline would create a tourism spot for recreational divers and also provide a habitat for fish.

Kate O'Connell / WXXI

Shipping lanes and ports along the Great Lakes are big contributors to the economies of upstate cities.  Federal funding to remove sediment and keep these shipping lanes open is available, but funds are limited and some of the smaller ports struggle to secure the money to dredge shipping channels on a yearly basis.

And, difficulty freeing federal funds has led one company to take matters into their own hands in western New York.

Ashley Hirtzel/WBFO

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission estimates that more than 40 million people in the U.S. and Canada depend on the Great Lakes for food, drinking water and recreation. A state-of-the-art research vessel, called the “Muskie,” is currently making its way through Lake Erie collecting data samples for the U.S. Geological Survey.

International Joint Commission

A federal program dedicated to environmental restoration and cleaning up of the Great Lakes has escaped a massive budget cut. A committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to amend a bill that looked to slash the program’s funding, partially restoring it to $210 million for fiscal year 2014.

The House bill originally aimed to cut 80 percent of the program’s budget, from nearly $300 million to just $60 million for next year.

A House committee has since revised that figure from $60 million to $210 million.

Great Lakes funding threatened by Congress

Jul 24, 2013
Some rights reserved by **Mary** / Flickr

After investing more than $1.3 billion to restore the Great Lakes, one Environmental Protection Agency program may be facing major budget cuts. Republicans in the House of Representatives are pushing a budget that reduces funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from $285 million down to $60 million.

Todd Ambs, with the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, says he was shocked by the House's nearly 80 percent cut proposed.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

A small cylinder armed with research equipment is bobbing through Lake Ontario this week. It’s collecting data from a seasonal temperature barrier known as a thermal bar.

Groups hope for post-election focus on environment

Nov 13, 2012
Vladimer Shioshvili / Flickr

While environmental issues did not play a prominent role in this year's presidential election, some activists were cheered when the president mentioned global warming in his election night speech. And one area group says this is a crucial time in determining how the federal government will focus on issues of climate, pollution, water levels and invasive species.

The Great Lakes Week

Jul 25, 2012

John Weeks discusses the events of the 1984 Great Lakes Week. This festival included Native American storytelling, water sports, film screenings and concerts.WeeksThis essay describes the activities and goals of this free (and now extinct) celebration. Weeks explains how each citizen should be well aware of the history and uses of the 193 mile-long Lake Ontario.

Voyage studying plastic in Great Lakes sets sail

Jul 13, 2012
Daniel Robison / Innovation Trail/WBFO

Until now, scientists could only guess at the amount of plastic waste in the Great Lakes.

This week, a team of researchers sets sail to conduct the first-ever survey of plastic pollution in the world’s largest fresh water system.

“You really have to start with, ‘Is this even an issue in the Great Lakes?  [With] 35 million people living around the Great Lakes, all the plastic you see blowing around, common sense is that it’s out there,” says Sherri “Sam” Mason, professor within SUNY Fredonia’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.