The Lakes

The Great Lakes -- Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario and Superior -- are among the most important bodies of water in the world. They are the largest readily accessible source of freshwater on Earth – roughly 20 percent of the total supply -- and contain more than 80 percent of North America’s surface water supply.

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Pollution cleanup moves ahead on Great Lakes

Mar 2, 2018
Caitlin Whyte

Just off Lake Ontario in Irondequoit Bay, Dave Hulburt is doing some work at the BayCreek Paddling Center.

The shop is closed in winter, but it’s unusually warm and sunny by the water. A few cars drive by, a flock of geese flies overhead, but other than that it’s quiet on the dock.

“As for the water quality right here, our staff swims in the creek every day in the summer time,” he says. “We haven’t grown any extra legs or anything.”

Dr. Rafat Ansari

Canada and the province of Ontario recently released their plan to combat toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie.  Phosphorus is the primary cause of the blooms that turn parts of the lake green most summers.

The U.S. and Canada hope to reduce phosphorus in Lake Erie by 40 percent, from 2008 levels.  It’s all part of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.


Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

In his lab at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, Greg Boyer stands beside his mass spectrometer. This machine is analyzing the chemical makeup of algae samples, specifically, those that produce deadly toxins.


Elizabeth Miller/ideastream


Every winter outdoor enthusiasts gather on Black Lake in Cheboygan County Michigan, not far from Lake Huron, on a crusade to catch the state threatened prehistoric fish.


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