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Great Lakes Basin

What's New
Stefanik working to remove defense bill provision that eliminates EPA oversight of ballast water discharges
Watertown Daily Times (5/27)
U.S. Rep. Elise M. Stefanik, R-Willsboro, has been working to eliminate a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that would remove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in regulating ballast water discharge from cargo vessels.

Stockbridge HS invention to monitor Great Lakes pest
Lansing State Journal (5/27)
In Michigan, a team of Stockbridge High School students has spent the past year designing an underwater camera to keep tabs on the state’s fight against invasive sea lampreys. Next week their invention will get its first real test.

Study: Barges can pull small fish through electric barriers set up to block Asian carp from Great Lakes
The Associated Press (5/26)
A federal study says small fish can be trapped in water currents created by commercial barges and pulled through electric barriers designed to prevent invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

Dogs as sentinels: Blue-green algae brings toxic mystery to Minn. waters
Minnesota Public Radio (5/24)
MPCA research scientist has been investigating reports of blue-green algae exposure in dogs for years. But it's often difficult to determine whether a dog has been poisoned by blue-green algae.

House measure supports shippers on water dumping
The Associated Press (5/24)
A plan gaining support in Congress and backed by the cargo shipping industry would establish a nationwide policy for dumping ballast water into U.S. waterways that environmental groups say would open the door to more invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels.

With no state bonding bill, Northland projects now are in limbo
The Duluth News Tribune (5/23)
Almost everyone at the state Capitol thought it was a good idea to invest $12.7 million to help cleanup polluted hotspots and restore habitat on the St. Louis River estuary in Duluth. But when the Legislature's bonding bill died, the project died too.

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The Great Lakes -- Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario -- and their connecting channels form the largest fresh surface water system on earth. If you stood on the moon, you could see the lakes and recognize the familiar wolf head shape of Lake Superior, or the mitten bounded by lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie. Covering more than 94,000 square miles and draining more than twice as much land, these Freshwater Seas hold an estimated 6 quadrillion gallons of water, about one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water supply and nine-tenths of the U.S. supply. Spread evenly across the contiguous 48 states, the lakes' water would be about 9.5 feet deep.
The channels that connect the Great Lakes are an important part of the system. The St. Marys River is the northernmost of these, a 60-mile waterway flowing from Lake Superior down to Lake Huron. At the St. Marys rapids, the Soo Locks bypass the rough waters, providing safe transport for ships. The St. Clair and Detroit rivers, and Lake St. Clair between them, form an 89-mile long channel connecting Lake Huron with Lake Erie. The 35-mile Niagara River links lakes Erie and Ontario, and sends approximately 50,000 to 100,000 cubic feet of water per second over Niagara Falls; the manmade Welland Canal also links the two lakes, providing a detour around the falls. From Lake Ontario, the water from the Great Lakes flows through the St. Lawrence River all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,000 miles away.
This system greatly affects our way of life, as well as all aspects of the natural environment, from weather and climate, to wildlife and habitat. Yet for all their size and power, the Great Lakes are fragile. In the past, this fragile nature wasn't recognized, and the lakes were mistreated for economic gain, placing the ecosystem under tremendous stress from our activities. Today, we understand that our health and our children's inheritance depend on our collective efforts to wisely manage our complex ecosystem.

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General Resources
TEACH Great Lakes: Introduction
What and where are the Great Lakes? This basic tutorial brings the lakes alive through an array of facts, maps and photos.

Biodiversity Portrait of the St. Lawrence
Green Lane, Environment Canada
Presents the current knowledge base of the river's ecological and biological diversity in atlas form.

Great Lakes Atlas
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
This Environmental Atlas and Resource Book is an excellent resource on the Great Lakes, including physical characteristics, natural processes, people, concerns, joint management and new directions (mirrored on Environment Canada's site).

Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem Team
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Check out this USFWS site for information on Great Lakes facts, invasive species, GIS research, education and much more!

Great Lakes Sea Grant Network
A network of Sea Grant colleges and programs working in partnership with government and the private sector to meet the changing needs of Americans living in the Great Lakes region.

Great Lakes Surface Environmental Analysis
NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL)
A map using NOAA satellite data to show recent water temperatures of the Great Lakes.

Office of the Great Lakes Activity Report
State of Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
The Office of the Great Lakes produces a monthly electronic Activity Report highlighting events, activities, and updates on the status of programs and issues affecting environmental protection, natural resource management, transportation, and recreation on the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes Program
University at Buffalo
The mission of the Great Lakes Program (GLP) is to coordinate the development, evaluation and synthesis of scientific and technical knowledge on the Great Lakes Ecosystem in support of public education and policy formation.

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Current Research Projects
Michigan Sea Grant

Final Report on the Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes
International Joint Commission
This report provides a blueprint for protecting the waters of the Great Lakes Basin from the potential impacts of water removals and consumptive uses.

Great Lakes GIS
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
The Great Lakes GIS Project proposes to provide comprehensive GIS projects for each Great Lake and the entire Great Lakes basin and provide recommendations for long-term distribution and maintenance of GIS-based data.

Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research
University of Windsor
The Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER) is a consortium of researchers at the University of Windsor. Established in 1981, the institute's research is directed toward the understanding, restoration, rehabilitation and protection of strategic ecological systems in the Great Lakes region.

Great Lakes Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey's Great Lakes Science Center was founded in 1927 and continues to provide scientific information for the sound management of Great Lakes fish populations and other important natural resources in the basin.

Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study
The Canadian and U.S. governments are conducting a joint study to evaluate the infrastructure needs of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway system, specifically the engineering, economic and environmental implications of those needs as they pertain to the marine transportation infrastructure on which commercial navigation depends.

Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Research Inventory
International Joint Commission
An Internet-based, searchable database created as a tool to collect and disseminate information on research programs relevant to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

National Water Research Institute (NWRI)
Environment Canada / Environnement Canada
NWRI, Canada's largest freshwater research establishment, conducts a comprehensive program of research and development in the aquatic sciences, in partnership with the Canadian and international science communities. NWRI research provides a sound basis for actions to sustain our natural resources and freshwater ecosystems.

NOAA Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health
NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
The NOAA Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health (CEGLHH) is a multi-disciplinary research center which will focus on understanding the inter-relationships between the Great Lakes ecosystem, water quality and human health.

Read and share Great Lakes research findings
International Association for Great Lakes Research (IAGLR)
New resources to promote Great Lakes research.

Tenth Biennial Report of Great Lakes Water Quality
International Joint Commission
Released in July 2000, this report discusses the current threats to the Great Lakes ecosystem, such as contaminated sportsfish, air toxics, and urbanization, and concludes with actions that the U.S. and Canadian governments must take in order to comply with the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement of 1978.

The Biosphère
Environment Canada
Opened in 1995 as the only museum of water in America dedicated to the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, the Biosphère heightens public awareness of water's importance and the necessity to protect it.

The Great Lakes Geographer
University of Western Ontario, Geography Department
Since 1967, this peer-reviewed journal has acted as a forum for publishing research about the science and biology of the Great Lakes and related social and economic issues. View the current issue online!

The Large Lakes Observatory
University of Minnesota - Duluth
Located on the Duluth Campus of the university of Minnesota, the Large Lakes Observatory (LLO) is the only institute in the country dedicated to the study of large lakes world wide. The LLO focuses on the global implications of investigation in the areas of aquatic chemistry, circulation dynamics, geochemistry, acoustic remote sensing, plankton dynamics, sedimentology and paleoclimatology.

Upper Lakes Environmental Research Network (ULERN)
A unique coalition of researchers, resource managers and educators in natural resources and environmental fields, ULERN facilitates collaborative aquatic, terrestrial and atmospheric research throughout the upper Great Lakes basin.

Water on the Web
University of Minnesota/ National Science Foundation (NSF)
Water on the Web (WOW) offers unique opportunities for high school and first year college students to learn basic science through hands-on science activities, in the lab and in the field, and by working with state-of-the-art technologies accessible through a free web site.

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Updated: May 29, 2016
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