Great Lakes Now Presents

Episode 2209: Finders, Keepers

Scanning the bottom of the Great Lakes, a giant library of preserved fish, and The Catch.


Finders, Keepers – Episode 2209


Join researchers as they uncover details about the bottom of the Great Lakes, head to Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum to learn how scientists are using a natural history collection to understand changes to global biodiversity, and The Catch has news about the lakes you love.






Explore this month’s hands-on lesson plans designed to help your middle schoolers understand the Great Lakes — all at home or in the classroom. They’re aligned to education standards AND free to download.

Mapping Lesson Plans Freshwater Fish Lesson Plans


Have a question about the Great Lakes or life in the region?

Ask Great Lakes Now, and if we can answer it, we might loop it into our coverage so others can learn too.

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When to Watch?

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Premieres on DPTV

Wednesday, September 28, at 7:30 PM


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In the Month of September on Great Lakes Now

Click the tabs to read descriptions of each feature in Episode 2209.

NOAA scientists and researchers are working to update navigational charts used by mariners across the region — a priority of NOAA’s office of Coast Survey.

Watch The Feature

Mind the Map

SEGMENT 1 | Cleveland, Ohio

While current charts of the Great Lakes have aided navigation for decades, they’re based on a patchwork of data gathered using primitive survey methods like lead-line surveys, in some cases around 80 years ago. The charts are low-resolution, indicating only depths, often miles apart—but that’s changing.

There’s a new effort to map the Great Lakes bottomlands in unprecedented detail using state-of-the-art sonar. At the heart of the effort, is the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s vessel, the Thomas Jefferson

There are multiple sonars on the Thomas Jefferson—or “TJ” for short—and on the TJ’s two launches, which also conduct hydrographic surveys. The sonars are sure to reveal details and features that have never been documented before, giving a whole new view of the depths of the Great Lakes.

What does the system look like, and how is the data gathered? Great Lakes Now contributor David J. Ruck spent a day on the Thomas Jefferson to find out.


Here is other Great Lakes Now work by David J. Ruck:

A playlist of his videos is HERE.

Meet Filmmaker David J. Ruck

“The Erie Situation” … and beyond

Researchers race to understand what lies beneath the Great Lakes

Each jar at the Royal Ontario Museum contains one or more individuals of a single species collected at a single time, at a single place. This is important because it provides a historical record of biodiversity.

Watch The Feature

Jar Trek

SEGMENT 2 | Toronto, Ontario

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is Canada’s largest museum and is comparable to the British Museum in London, England, or the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. 

More than a million people a year visit the ROM to enjoy over 13 million artworks, cultural objects and natural history specimens showcased across 40 gallery and exhibition spaces.

But behind the scenes, the ROM’s fish-specimen collection is one of the top 10 fish collections in North America. It includes 110,000 jars containing about 1.5 million individual specimens spanning more than 7,500 species of fishes. Roughly, one in five species of fish globally are represented, from both freshwater and marine environments.

But the ROM fish collection isn’t housed in their iconic downtown Toronto location. With over 100,000 jars filled with flammable liquid, the entire collection was moved out of the museum basement to a secure — and secret — location outside of the city. 

Erling Holm curated the collection for 44 years and recently passed the reins to Nathan Lujan. Both men share with Great Lakes Now why natural history collections play such a critical role in understanding Earth biodiversity and how it is changing over time.


Here is other Great Lakes Now work on fish and museums of the region:

The “I Speak for the Fish” monthly features are HERE.

Board a Ship, See Some Fish, Learn the History: Great Lakes Museums, Aquariums and Forts

Rogers City museum inducts Lake Huron shipwreck victims, honors lives

Visit a Lighthouse: Explore history in one of the many preserved lighthouses around the Great Lakes

The Mark W. Barker empty and riding high on the shore at Cleveland the day before her Ohio christening.

Watch The Feature

The Catch: News about the Lakes You Love

SEGMENT 3 | Chicago, Illinois; Syracuse, New York; Cleveland, Ohio

Keep up with the Great Lakes’ biggest issues. Find out how environmental challenges are impacting your enjoyment of the outdoors and the health of the ecosystem. Go beyond the headlines with reporters from around the region.

This new segment – The Catch – in our award-winning PBS program will keep you in the know. This month, stories from our partners with the “Water’s True Cost” project.

First, head to Chicago where Daily Herald Climate Reporter Jenny Whidden is looking into the causes of lightning bug population declines. Whidden says the issue is part of a larger problem of declining insect populations in general, but she also has some suggestions on what you can do to help attract and protect lightning bugs in your own backyard.

Next, Syracuse.com Climate Reporter Glenn Coin talks about a historic transfer of land back to the Onondaga Nation.The move marks the first time that land has been returned directly to a tribal entity in the state of New York. The land transfer is part of a settlement involving Honeywell International, a company that polluted and is now helping to restore Onondaga Lake. 

Finally, GLN’s Lake Erie Contributor James Proffitt rounds things out with news about the launch of an innovative freighter from the Cleveland-based Interlake Steamship Company. The ship is named the Mark W. Barker and is the first American made bulk cargo carrier constructed on the Great Lakes in nearly 40 years. 


Click below for other Great Lakes Now work on issues reported in this month’s “The Catch”: 

Climate Change

Indigenous Voices of the Great Lakes

Shipping and Freighters

Videos from Episode 2209
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Previous Episodes

Featured Articles

Book Review: Wisconsin author touches third rail of drinking water issues in new book
- by Gary Wilson

Can wastewater recycled for drinking water survive the court of public opinion?

Michigan regulators approve key permit for Enbridge Line 5 tunnel
- by Bridge Michigan

The ruling puts Enbridge Energy a step closer to tunnel construction despite opposition from environmental and Native American groups and Democratic officials.

Documentary explores climate resilience in northern Michigan
- by Interlochen Public Radio

The Grand Valley State University documentary was screened at the Dennos Theater in Traverse City on Nov. 30.

Science Says What? Global worming and the Great Lakes (yes, you read that right)
- by Sharon Oosthoek

Invasion of the earthworms! It sounds like a bad Hollywood movie, but science can be stranger than fiction.

Digital Credits
The Great Lakes Now Series is produced by Rob Green and Sandra Svoboda.