great lakes

WXXI file

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) Advocacy groups are lobbying Congress to pump more money into programs to protect Great Lakes water quality. 

More than 100 representatives of organizations in the region are in Washington, D.C., this week for an annual gathering in support of funding for Great Lakes priorities such as toxic pollution cleanups and fighting invasive species. 

The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition organizes the trip. Policy Director Chad Lord says a high priority this year is boosting federal investment in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. 

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are calling on officials to reduce the higher than average water levels on Lake Ontario, but officials who manage the water regulation say that might not be possible.

Alex Crichton / WXXI News

According to the International Lake Ontario - St. Lawrence River Board, Lake Ontario is more than a foot higher than usual for this time of year.

Keith Koralewski with the Army Corps of Engineers says, we're not alone. "Most of the Great Lakes are currently above average," he said by phone.

Monroe County’s waste water treatment plant is getting $28 million in upgrades and improvements, partially in response to several years of violations with state and federal environmental standards.

Ever since the Frank Van Lare water treatment plant underwent extensive upgrades from 2011 to 2015, it has had a series of violations for discharging too much sewage waste into Lake Ontario.

The original upgrades were intended to make the plant more energy efficient, but Director of Environmental Services Mike Garland says they noticed problems almost immediately.

Veronica Volk / WXXI News

An end-of-year report from the Great Lakes Adaptive Management Committee says last year’s floods could not have been prevented.

Last year, Lake Ontario and some of its tributaries were so high that homes and businesses along the shore were damaged and destroyed.

Residents blamed a newly implemented management plan, but the Great Lakes Adaptive Management Committee and its governing body, the International Joint Commission, have concluded that there was nothing that could have been done to prevent the flooding.

GLISA Website

A Great Lakes conference hopes to bridge gaps between different people working in climate adaptation.

Dr. Daniel Wildcat is a professor at Haskall Indian Nations University, who recently wrote a book about the importance of including the knowledge of indigenous peoples in the fight against climate change.

"Before any of us in this room thought in boxes, before any of working in silos, before any of us did research that was prescribed, and detailed in our disciplines and methodologies of choice we employ, our ancestors learned, worked, thought, researched out of doors."

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP)  A U.S.-Canadian agency is suggesting ways the two nations can help prevent flame-retardant chemicals from polluting the Great Lakes.

The International Joint Commission made the recommendations in a report Thursday. They're directed toward both federal governments as well as states, provinces, tribes and cities.


Tammy Bleier, a Greece native, says she has a special relationship to the water.

"I grew up going to Lake Ontario, especially Ontario Beach Park, and people use it for a myriad of ways. We use it for recreation, for boating. I love kayaking, people use it for fishing, we use it as a source of drinking water.”

As a research student, Bleier noticed a lot of attention being paid to plastic pollution in oceans, but not necessarily the Great Lake to the north.

Alex Crichton / WXXI News

A new report attempts to explain the causes of last year’s flooding along the south shore of Lake Ontario.

After floods in the spring of 2017 hurt businesses and drove families from their homes along the shore of Lake Ontario, many homeowners and business owners and even some public officials blamed a new lake water regulation plan.

The Lake Guardian is in Rochester

Jun 18, 2018

The largest surveillance and monitoring vessel on the Great Lakes is in Rochester.

The “Lake Guardian” is spending all of 2018 on Lake Ontario, to monitor activities in the water, sediment, air and fish using state-of-the-art equipment on board the 180-foot vessel, according to the EPA’s public affairs officer, Michael Basile.