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Your April Update


The buoys are going back in the water, and the region is starting to team with activity. 

  • Environment Canada Buoys lead the charge back into the water this spring.

  • We mark Becky Pearson's five year anniversary on staff.

  • GLOS supports an autonomous boat to study harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie.

The buoys are returning to the water

In April and May, after the threat of ice is gone, operators across the region start deploying their buoys. Last year, due to COVID-19, deployments were delayed weeks or months in some cases.

This year, with social distancing and other health protocols already in place, deployments are set to go more smoothly, and we expect to see most of the buoys back in the water by mid-May. 

This year, the buoys from Environment Canada were the first to be deployed into Lakes Ontario, Erie, and Huron, followed by three Limnotech buoys in southeastern Lake Michigan, and one from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee north of Milwaukee.

See the buoys live

Celebrating Becky's five years at GLOS

Becky on the Lake Michigan shoreline with her son Vincent and dachshund Kaiser.

This month, we’re marking five years since Becky Pearson, our chief operations officer, joined the GLOS staff.

When Becky joined in 2016 as the program manager, it was an eventful time at GLOS. Despite only having a staff of three at the time, there was an expanding buoy network to manage, a new five-year funding cycle to plan around, GLOS apps being developed, and the region was confronting the problem of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. 

No stranger to the Great Lakes community, Becky is a Chicagoland native, and prior to joining the staff had spent 14 years at the Great Lakes Commission (GLC), where GLOS was started. 

She says she had always appreciated GLOS’ data-centric mission. “I’d always liked the idea of the non-political nature of data,” she says. “It tells you what it tells you. It doesn’t misconstrue anything.”

Becky has since helped guide the team through a large staff expansion: from three employees to nine today, a move to cloud-based data management infrastructure, and the new GLOS five-year plan, and the launch of Smart Great Lakes.

“Becky steadies the ship for us here at GLOS,” says CEO Kelli Paige. “Her dedication and thoughtfulness have ensured GLOS continues to stay on course and aim for excellence. I am so grateful for her support and motivation through this period of growth.”

A lot has happened since Becky joined thanks, in part, to her work ethic and tenacity. The rest of the staff benefits daily from Becky’s organization, her persistence, and her sense of humor. 

Cheers Becky!

Researchers at NOAA plan to test an autonomous boat in Maumee Bay this summer

In January, a trailer pulled up to the NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL), passed the existing fleet of buoys, sensors, and other gear, and unloaded a new kind of observing platform. 

Capable of patrolling the shallow waters of Maumee Bay in western Lake Erie, researchers will use the SeaTrac Autonomous Surface Vehicle to monitor the most toxic area of the western Lake Erie harmful algal bloom.

Once fully tested and equipped, researchers anticipate the vessel will be capable of:

  • Mapping large areas of the algal bloom every day. 

  • Sending near-real time toxin data to researchers every few hours.

  • Staying out in the lake for months at a time, collecting data 24 hours a day, even during storms.

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