Great Lakes Restoration Success through Science—U.S. Geological Survey Accomplishments 2010 through 2013
The Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario) are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth and serve as an important source of drinking water, transportation, power, and recreational opportunities for the United States and Canada. They also support an abundant commercial and recreational fishery, are crucial for agriculture, and are essential to the economic vitality of the region. The Great Lakes support a wealth of biological diversity, including over 200 globally rare plants and animals and more than 40 species that are found nowhere else in the world. However, more than a century of environmental degradation has taken a substantial toll on the Great Lakes. To stimulate and promote the goal of a healthy Great Lakes region, President Obama and Congress created the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) in 2009. The GLRI is an interagency collaboration that seeks to address the most significant environmental problems in the Great Lakes ecosystem. The GLRI is composed of five focus areas that address these issues:
- Cleaning up toxic substances and Areas of Concern,
- Preventing and controlling invasive species,
- Promoting nearshore health,
- Protecting and restoring habitat and wildlife,
- Tracking progress and working with partners.
As of August 2013, the GLRI had funded more than 1,500 projects and programs of the highest priority to meet immediate cleanup, restoration, and protection needs. These projects use scientific analyses as the basis for identifying the restoration needs and priorities for the GLRI. Results from the science, monitoring, and other on-the-ground actions by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) provide the scientific information needed to help guide the Great Lakes restoration efforts. This document highlights a selection of USGS projects for each of the five focus areas through 2013, demonstrating the importance of science for restoration success. Additional information for these and other USGS projects that are important for Great Lakes restoration is available at http://cida.usgs.gov/glri/glri-catalog/.
And, check out the
Michigan Water Science Center GLRI Projects
Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL)
The USGS Michigan Water Science Center Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) in Lansing, MI provides a variety of modern analytical approaches to understand bacteriological contamination and microbial ecology in diverse aquatic environments. The MI-BaRL laboratory has examined beach microbiology, the occurrence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in surface water, and the occurrence of microbial pathogens in surface water, ground water, and in drinking water supplies. In addition, several studies conducted in the MI-BaRL have examined the ecology of microbial communities in different settings, including sulfur rich springs, arsenic and hydrocarbon contaminated groundwater, and wastewater-contaminated surface and groundwater.
Occurrence and Distribution of Fecal Indicator Bacteria and
Gene Markers of Pathogenic Bacteria in Great Lakes
Tributaries, March–October 2011
From March through October 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), conducted a study to determine the frequency of occurrence of pathogen gene markers and densities of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) in 22 tributaries to the Great Lakes. This project was funded as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) and included sampling at 22 locations throughout 6 states that border the Great Lakes.
A total of 177 environmental samples were collected at USGS streamgaging stations during both normal-flow and high-flow conditions and were analyzed by the Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory at the USGS Water Science Center in Lansing, Michigan.
Water samples were analyzed for the presence of FIB concentrations (FIB; fecal coliform bacteria, Escherichia coli [E. coli], and enterococci) by using membrane filtration and serial dilution methods. The resulting enrichments from standard culturing of the samples were then analyzed by using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to determine the occurrence of pathogen gene markers for Shigella species, Campylobacter jejuni and coli, Salmonella species, and pathogenic E. coli, including Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC).
Brennan, A.K., Johnson, H.E., Totten, A.R., and Duris, J.W., 2015, Occurrence and distribution of fecal indicator bacteria and gene markers of pathogenic bacteria in Great Lakes tributaries, March–October 2011: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1013, 29 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151013.
Journal Article "Geographic Setting Influences Great Lakes Beach Microbiological Water Quality"
Understanding of factors that influence Escherichia coli (EC) and enterococci (ENT) concentrations, pathogen occurrence, and microbial sources at Great Lakes beaches comes largely from individual beach studies. Using 12 representative beaches, we tested enrichment cultures from 273 beach water and 22 tributary samples for EC, ENT, and genes indicating the bacterial pathogens Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), Shigella spp., Salmonella spp, Campylobacter jejuni/coli, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and 108–145 samples for Bacteroides human, ruminant, and gull source-marker genes.
S.K. Haack, L.R. Fogarty, E.A. Stelzer, L.M. Fuller, A.K. Brennan, N.M. Isaacs, and H.E. Johnson, 2013, Geographic Setting Influences Great Lakes Beach Microbiological Water Quality, Environ. Sci. Technol., 2013, 47 (21), pp 12054–12063
FULL ARTICLE (http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1021/es402299a)
Relation Between Organic-Wastewater Compounds, Groundwater Geochemistry, and Well Characteristics for Selected Wells in Lansing, Michigan
In 2010, groundwater from 20 Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) production wells was tested for 69 organic-wastewater compounds (OWCs). The OWCs detected in one-half of the sampled wells are widely used in industrial and environmental applications and commonly occur in many wastes and stormwater. To identify factors that contribute to the occurrence of these constituents in BWL wells, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) interpreted the results of these analyses and related detections of OWCs to local characteristics and groundwater geochemistry.
Silver Lake Nutrient Loading Study (Oceana County, MI)
The Silver Lake Nutrient Loading Study began in August 2012 between the Silver Lake Improvement Board and project partners, which include the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) , and Progressive AE. Recent persistent algal blooms, high phosphorus concentrations during summer months, as well as a decrease in water clarity underscore a need to characterize water and nutrient sources to Silver Lake (located in Oceana County, MI). The objective of the Silver Lake Nutrient study is to characterize the nutrient conditions and hydrologic inputs and outputs to Silver Lake in order to develop a water budget and nutrient budget for the lake. Once identified, information on nutrient sources can be used by the Silver Lake Improvement Board to implement management practices that best protect Silver Lake from potential negative effects associated with elevated nutrient concentrations.
In addition to the website (http://mi.water.usgs.gov/projects/silverlake/index.html), you can also follow project progress on Twitter at @USGS_Silverlake
Predicting Water Clarity Overview
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), has been monitoring the quality of inland lakes in Michigan through the Lake Water Quality Assessment monitoring program. This program is funded through the Michigan Clean Michigan Initiative, and the USGS Cooperative Program. However, only a portion of Michigan's inland lakes can be conventionally sampled each year. A technique was developed by USGS, modeled after Olmanson and others (2001), to predict water clarity and corresponding trophic state index (TSI) values based on the Carlson's Trophic State Index (TSI) in inland lakes greater than 20 acres using satellite remote sensing data.
By L.M. Fuller, R.S. Jodoin, and R.J. Minnerick
For the full report click here.