Lake Erie

Hackathon aims to clean up Lake Erie

Apr 8, 2017
ELIZABETH MILLER / Great Lakes Today

Pollution and other problems plague areas all over the Great Lakes region. And they can make drinking or swimming dangerous.  There’s plenty of blame to go around for this – city water utilities, agriculture, and politicians to name a few. 

Now an unlikely industry has joined the search for solutions – technology is taking on Lake Erie.

“Hackathons” are widespread throughout the world – weekend-long events aimed at solving a problem with technology and new software.  Teams form, develop an idea, and present it all in a couple of days.

Payne Horning

For years, the Sea Grant program has helped Americans learn about the oceans, the Great Lakes and other waters. Now, President Donald Trump wants to stop funding it.

That has some New York educators worried -- including a group of middle and high school science teachers who recently gathered for a Great Lakes training seminar. At SUNY Oswego's Rice Creek Field Station, they clustered around bins full of classroom activities they can implement into their lessons about the Great Lakes. 

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.

Ashley Hassett/Innovation Trail

Mobile technology has created some new opportunities for citizen scientists to play an active part in research, especially with tighter budgets. Now a nationwide project is enlisting the public to gather up-to-date information on water levels.

WBFO News file photo

A new report called Taken By Storm released by the National Wildlife Foundation is highlighting the issue of excessive fertilizer runoff into Lake Erie. The resulting algal blooms can seriously impact the health of those who rely on its water.