WHERE WE TAKE YOU IN NOVEMBER
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Check your local station for when Great Lakes Now is on in your area.
Premiered on DPTV
Tuesday, November 24, at 7:30 PM
STATIONS CARRYING THE SERIES
Bad Axe, Michigan
Bay County, Michigan
Bowling Green, Ohio
Buffalo, New York
East Lansing, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Green Bay, Wisconsin
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Menomonie-Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
Park Falls, Wisconsin
South Bend, Indiana
Syracuse, New York
University Center, Michigan
Watertown, New York for Ontario signal
Watertown, New York for U.S. signal
SEGMENT 1 | Port Austin, Michigan
Residents in communities along the Great Lakes have been battling water-level changes for generations. In 2019, new highs were recorded all along the Great Lakes, and water levels have remained at record levels throughout 2020.
As these high waters threaten homes built along the lakes, many residents are armoring their properties with seawalls made of steel or stone. But seawalls prevent wave energy from depositing sand along the shore the way it would with a natural beach — so these structures can actually make erosion worse.
Coastal communities along the Great Lakes are grappling with how to support local landowners wanting to protect their properties and, at the same time, sustain the beaches that are vital to tourism.
“The big debate right now is where do we draw that line?” said Dick Norton, professor of urban and regional planning at University of Michigan. “Do we decide we need to protect this natural shoreline for the public trust resource that it is even if that comes at the expense of property owners having to move back their homes or take them away?”
Port Austin Township, at the tip of Michigan’s thumb, is one of only a handful of coastal communities along the Great Lakes that is in the process of revising its master plans to deal with issues of erosion. The township is considering adopting new ordinances that would impact armoring along the shore and require homes to be built a certain distance from the water.
Visit this community in this Great Lakes Now segment that was produced in partnership with Bridge Michigan.
Read the accompanying Bridge Michigan story here: As Great Lakes pummel Michigan, beach towns rush to set development rules
Here are some other Great Lakes Now stories about 2020’s water levels:
- WATCH: High Cost of High Water
- WATCH: Vanishing Shorelines
- WATCH: Lake Levels
- Record rainfall prompts reversal of Chicago River into lake to ease flooding
- Review Underway: Will IJC’s efforts be enough for flooded shoreline municipalities?
- Before and After: High water levels at Michigan lighthouse
- Millions needed to fix Michigan roads damaged by high water
- High water wreaks havoc on Great Lakes, swamping communities
- Got High Water or Soil Erosion? Here’s some help for homeowners and residents
- Water and Wonder: Great Lakes Now producer talks the lakes and his work covering them
SEGMENT 2 | Syracuse, New York
As students returned to campuses across the country this fall, colleges and universities struggled to reduce the potential for outbreaks of COVID-19.
Like dozens of other schools across the country, Syracuse University in New York, used a wastewater testing program to help early identification of infections.
The university tests the wastewater from 19 residence halls that house more than 6,000 students to determine if it contains traces of the COVID-19 virus. Samples are automatically collected throughout the day and combined to form a single composite sample that is analyzed in a lab to determine if the virus is present.
The virus can show up in sewage up to 10 days before an infected student begins to show symptoms, so the university is hoping they can identify the location of the virus, test students in that dormitory, identify anyone who is infected and isolate them before they spread the virus to others.
Here are some other Great Lakes Now stories involving COVID-19’s impact on the region:
- WATCH: Lakes on Lockdown – Full Episode Playlist
- WATCH: Get Out There – How Canadian and U.S. national parks are dealing with the uptick in visitors this year.
- WATCH: Unlocking the Lakes – Full Episode Playlist
- WATCH: In Isolation … At Aquariums
- Summertime Spike: Great Lakes parks a source of balm and vexation for many during COVID-19
- Another Casualty of COVID: Testing for lead poisoning in Michigan
- House Democrats ask CDC to halt water shutoffs during the pandemic
- EMU to test campus wastewater for COVID-19
- Thousands allowed to bypass environmental rules in pandemic
- Intersecting Crises: Fighting for climate justice in a pandemic
Videos from Episode 1020Subscribe on YouTube
Building boats, cleaning up trash and uncovering amazing fossils around the Great Lakes.
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…
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…
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…
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.
More than $2.5 million was awarded from the Ontario government to 19 projects that ranged from green infrastructure projects to helping spread good land management practices.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker will travel to the United Kingdom next week to discuss the state’s efforts to neutralize climate change while bolstering economic development, his office said Wednesday.
The Flint water crisis remains at the forefront as the settlement deal waits for approval, the criminal cases are pending, and the city finishes replacing its lead pipelines.
Drinking Water News Roundup: Minnesota’s salty water problem, aging infrastructure affects taste, Pennsylvania grants
Catch the latest drinking water updates with Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.
The Great Lakes Now Series is produced by Rob Green and Sandra Svoboda.