Explore the Episodes
Birds vs. buildings in Chicago, algae blooms on Lake Superior, and aquariums re-open.
Marine sanctuaries protect shipwrecks while volunteers guard sturgeon against poachers.
Plovers nest on a Chicago beach, suckers spawn in Wisconsin, and storms rage in Duluth.
One lakeside town struggles with PFAS pollution from a local Air Force base, while cities around the region race to remove and replace thousands of lead water pipes. And after a year-long delay, Great Lakes sailors head to the “2020” Olympics.
Carrying oil through the waters of the Straits of Mackinac, the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline is arguably the biggest international, political and environmental issue in the Great Lakes region. Now, with a state-ordered shutdown, rigorous company defenses, debates about acceptable risk, and local jobs at stake, the legal fight involves…
Invasive mussels are hastening the deterioration of historic Great Lakes shipwrecks, like the submerged Prins Willem V off Milwaukee. Zebra and quagga mussels are also a big problem for water treatment and power plants. But science — and another invader, the round goby—could help fight them.
Who are the people in this old freighter movie? And where could PFAS be in your home?
The White House and the U.S. Senate change hands. What will it mean for the Great Lakes?
Come aboard a boat that delivers mail to ships on the Great Lakes. Learn about life on a Great Lakes freighter, and dive into some incredible shipwrecks that you don’t necessarily need a scuba tank to see in the Great Lakes’ only national marine sanctuary.
Lake levels rise, COVID’s in wastewater and invasive species weave new food webs.
Nature is both fragile and fearsome. In the Chicago River, fish populations have suffered since the river became a steel-lined channel, but can floating garden islands restore a more natural habitat? Our region offers spectacular night sky views, but will new satellites mar their beauty? And how are Great Lakes parks coping with COVID-19 and record-setting lake levels?
The health of the Great Lakes is inextricably linked to the health of the rivers that feed them. In northern Minnesota, one river faces environmental threats from a proposed mine. In Michigan, a second river is unleashed when aging hydroelectric dams are removed. In Indiana, a third river is protected from invasive Asian carp, which have infested rivers further south.
Learn more about a little-known Chicago shipwreck that took more lives than the Titanic. Check in on the Kalamazoo River’s wildlife 10 years after the Line 6B pipeline spilled over a million gallons of oil there, and find out if COVID-19 means no basketball tournament in 2020 for four Great Lakes island schools.
Large-scale dairy and animal farms fuel the annual toxic algal blooms in Lake Erie — are regulation loopholes contributing? Record-high water levels are costing lakefront towns millions of dollars, and the Midland dam breach came after years of warning from regulators.
As stay-at-home orders end around the Great Lakes, does Wisconsin’s experience opening businesses predict anything for other tourism-dependent communities? How are researchers, reef restorers and hydroponic farms reacting to the pandemic? Plus, with an increase in use of personal wipes, will more fatbergs grow in our sewer systems?
Produced fully during the COVID-19 pandemic, this episode checks in with people, businesses and institutions from previous episodes to see how work has changed during the public health emergency. But while social distancing keeps people inside, it lets the residents of some Great Lakes aquariums get out.
Rebuilding Chicago’s iconic lakefront, managing Buffalo’s rainwater and sewage, and tracking the annual algal blooms in Lake Erie are all part of the Great Lakes region’s effort to manage the impacts of climate change. This month, Great Lakes Now takes you to meet the citizens, city leaders and scientists who are working on these issues.
This year’s warm winter boosted ice-fishing tourism in one part of the Great Lakes while potentially spelling disaster for businesses depending on colder weather. Catch up with the communities in our documentary “The Forever Chemicals,” and learn what Great Lakes states and provinces are doing to fight PFAS contamination.
Winter doesn’t stop work around the Great Lakes. See what happens at the Soo Locks when they close for maintenance, and drop into the chilly water with commercial divers who battle the zebra and quagga mussel invasions in the lakes. In a warmer setting, join us in the Mackinac Island school gym for a tournament just for island school teams.
Travel with Great Lakes Now to the remote Canadian research station where scientists are working to understand – and protect – freshwater. Go deep into Lake Huron to see mysterious sinkholes, and watch as some homeowners try to save their Lake Michigan coastal homes while the waters wash away the beaches below them.
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.
Go underwater with a group of women who dove all five lakes 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.
Household waste, lead and agricultural runoff are byproducts of modern life. In this episode of Great Lakes Now, get the down-and-dirty reality of what can happen when these substances get into the region’s water systems.
Floating islands on the Chicago River are creating habitats for fish, turtles and birds inside the city waterway, while up north in Lake Superior, scientists are working to protect a rocky reef from legacy mining pollution. Also, see what happened after a Michigan community started running out of drinking water.
Travel aboard one of the growing number of cruise ships as passengers visit First Nation communities on a Canadian island in Lake Huron. See who is winning and losing from the record-high water levels around the lakes, and learn more about the latest technology on freighters.
The fight over an oil-and-gas pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac went to the courts, and microplastics were detected in waters around the region. The newest U.S. National Park on Lake Michigan’s shoreline means increased visitors but not necessarily more protection against erosion, contaminants and native plant loss.
See how Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River has been cleaned up since it famously caught fire 50 years ago. Go fishing for Asian carp and learn to identify all four species in or near the Great Lakes, then find out how hydroponic farming is creating connections between sustainability, technology, water conservation and food.
Come aboard a boat that delivers mail to ships on the Great Lakes. Learn about life on a Great Lakes freighter, and dive into some incredible shipwrecks in the Great Lakes’ only national marine sanctuary.
Learn what life is like on a Lake Erie island and how a Chicago port helps get one of your favorite candies made. We look at how Ann Arbor, Michigan, is dealing with industrial chemicals in the city water supply, and we answer viewer questions about drinking water safety.