Great Lakes Now Presents

Episode 1009: Finding Impacts

On this episode of Great Lakes Now, search for a meteorite on the bottom of Lake Michigan. Learn how a little striped fish might help us understand the health impacts of industrial chemicals on people, and see how a Milwaukee community is UN-developing a river to improve the environment and water quality.

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Finding Impacts | Episode 1009

On this episode of Great Lakes Now, search for a meteorite on the bottom of Lake Michigan. Learn how a little striped fish might help us understand the health impacts of industrial chemicals on people, and see how a Milwaukee community is UN-developing a river to improve the environment and water quality.


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Tuesday, December 31 at 7:30 PM


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This Month on Great Lakes Now

Click the tabs to read descriptions of each feature in Episode 1009.

Kinnickinnic River Restoration


The Kinnickinnic River runs through Milwaukee’s south side, and it drains the most densely-populated watershed in the state of Wisconsin. It was once a natural, tree-lined river before the city expanded onto its banks during the first half of the 20th century.

As this development occurred, there were more impervious surfaces that were created,” said Patrick Elliott, senior project manager for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewer District. “The streets and sidewalks and parking lots, rooftops—all these surfaces that don’t allow rain to soak in.

That meant storm water ran off those hard surfaces so quickly that the flow could overwhelm the Kinnickinnic and lead to flooding in the communities around it.

Miles of the river were lined with concrete, but while that did move the water away quickly, it only worsened flooding downstream. Now a multi-million dollar restoration project aims to solve that problem.

Here are more Great Lakes Now stories about river restoration:

Lake Michigan Meteorite


In 2017, a meteorite lit up the night sky before crashing into Lake Michigan off the Wisconsin shoreline. It made the news and caught the attention of Chris Bresky, the teen programs manager at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

He saw an opportunity to enlist teenagers in the hunt for the sunken meteorite.

“Space for a lot of people can feel very cold, dark, dead, distant. Right now, as we’re talking, there are rocks from space older than the Earth, sitting at the bottom of that lake, just waiting to be discovered and waiting to be recovered,” Bresky said.

The Adler launched The Aquarius Project, a teen-driven program with the ambitious goal of recovering meteorite fragments from the bottom of Lake Michigan. Scientists and researchers from NASA and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum of Natural History got involved, and the teens designed, built, tested, and deployed the world’s first underwater meteorite recovery sled.

Here’s how they’re doing.

Here are more Great Lakes Now stories about meteorites:

  • Click through this interactive timeline to learn more about meteorites that have fallen into the Great Lakes.
  • Learn more about The Aquarius Project in this interview with Chris Bresky HERE.

PFAS and Zebrafish


Great Lakes Now has told you about PFAS in the past.

The curious acronym refers to a family of thousands of compounds used in industrial processes and in consumer products. PFAS chemicals have been so widely used that they’re found in the blood of most Americans. And while PFAS has been linked to health problems in humans, the chemicals’ impact on the human body isn’t fully understood.

At Wayne State University in Detroit, a team of researchers is trying to change that by studying the effects that PFAS and other environmental contaminants have on zebrafish.

And it isn’t just PFAS that’s in the water. Researchers have found cosmetics, sunscreen, cleaning solutions, nicotine, prescription drugs, and cocaine in water samples taken from the Detroit River.

A lot of the chemicals that we’re interested in looking at are endocrine disrupting chemicals,” says Tracie Baker, the principal researcher and director of the WATER Lab at Detroit’s Wayne State University. “So even at small amounts they can act like hormones in our bodies and PFAS is one of those chemicals.

Here are more Great Lakes Now stories about PFAS:

  • Learn more about Baker’s projects and what testing fish means for humans HERE.
  • Watch the Great Lakes Now documentary about the PFAS problem, “The Forever Chemicals,” HERE.
  • Catch our answers to these PFAS-related audience questions HERE and ask your own.

Videos from Episode 1009

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Previous Episodes

Cruises, Rising Waters and Ship Safety

Episode 1005

Travel aboard one of the growing number of cruise ships as passengers visit First Nation communities on a Canadian island in Lake Huron.

Watch the Show

Waters Restored

Episode 1006

See what happened after a fast-growing western Michigan community started running out of drinking water.

Watch the Show

Waters Infected

Episode 1007

Household waste, lead and agricultural runoff are byproducts of modern life. Get the down-and-dirty reality of what can happen when these substances get into the region’s water systems.

Watch the Show

In the Waters

Episode 1008

Politics, economics, recreation and science are all part of the latest episode of Great Lakes Now. Go underwater in the five lakes with a group of women who dove them all in 24 hours, and learn more about the controversy about controlling water levels in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. Get aboard a commercial fishing boat on Lake Huron, and meet Dr. Katfish, who wants you to know that Great Lakes fish can be fun and festive.

Watch the Show

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Digital Credits

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