WHERE WE TAKE YOU IN NOVEMBER
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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
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…
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…
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,”…
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…
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…
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…
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.
On Monday, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency cleared the way for work to start on the pipeline project. Yet hurdles remain, including ongoing lawsuits and the threat of protests along the route.
Data from the last water year indicated record-breaking levels in the Great Lakes, and this year looks to be much of the same.
Spokeswoman Juli Kellner said Enbridge began construction in several locations around the state Tuesday morning.
Minnesota regulators approved the final permit Monday for Enbridge Energy’s Line 3 crude oil pipeline replacement.
The Great Lakes Now Series is produced by Rob Green and Sandra Svoboda.