Unified Interior Regions

Region 3: Great Lakes

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

For more information on the Great Lakes and work being done, check out the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative website here! 


USGS Science Centers in the Great Lakes Region

For more information on what each center is doing in the Great Lakes, please follow the links below! 

Great Lakes Science Center

Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Water Science Center

Upper Midwest Water Science Center

Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

National Wildlife Health Center

Regions L2 Landing Page Tabs

Filter Total Items: 213
Locations of sites sampled along US tributaries to the Great Lakes
Date Published: April 10, 2019
Status: Active

Chemicals of Concern in the Great Lakes Basin

The Great Lakes are an important freshwater source of drinking water, fisheries, and habitat. Chemicals of concern are introduced to the environment by human activities, but resulting ecological consequences are little understood. With federal and University partners, we are characterizing the presence of contaminants and potential effects to fish in Great Lakes tributaries.

Contacts: Sarah M Elliott, Stephanie Hummel
Collage of three printouts of DNA sequencing of Pathogens.
Date Published: April 9, 2019
Status: Active

Bacterial Pathogens

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) studies the source, occurrence, and distribution of the bacterial pathogens Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus and the relation of occurrence of pathogens with fecal indicator bacteria, land-use, season, hydrology, geology, weather...

Parents and children enjoying the beach in Macomb County, Michigan with seagulls.
Date Published: April 8, 2019
Status: Active

Enhance Great Lakes Beach Recreational Water Quality Decision Making

Important questions about beach closures and management remain unanswered in the Great Lakes where over 500 beaches are routinely used along the nearly 11,000 miles of coastline. The economies of coastal areas are dependent on public confidence in the quality of water at the shoreline, and beach managers need reliable science-based information to make beach closure and beach management...

Contacts: Carrie Givens
Multiple Petri dishes with various water samples monitoring showing color differences for antibiotic resistance.
Date Published: April 7, 2019
Status: Active

Antibiotic Resistance

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) conducts research on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their genes. We have concentrated our studies on antibiotic-resistant bacteria of human-health concern, including vancomycin-resistant enterococci, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (...

Contacts: Carrie Givens
Image showing an optical sensor system used to test wastewater.
Date Published: April 6, 2019
Status: Active

Using optical sensors to detect sewage contamination in the Great Lakes

In the Great Lakes, large volumes of sewage never make it to wastewater treatment plants due to illicit discharges and leaking sewer infrastructure, but contamination can be difficult to detect. This study will define the utility and practicality of using optical sensors to identify the sources and timing of sewage contamination in surface water and storm sewers in real-time field settings....

Contacts: Steven R Corsi
Milwaukee Harbor from boat launch
Date Published: April 5, 2019
Status: Active

MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study: Ecological Assessments and Trends

Changes in streams that result from urban development such as loss of stream habitat, inadequate or flashy streamflow, and degraded water quality can adversely affect communities of aquatic organisms. MMSD Watercourse Corridor Study ecological assessments evaluate water quality over time by pairing community assessments of aquatic organisms with chemical assessments using passive samplers.

FluEgg Theory
Date Published: April 5, 2019
Status: Active

Development of a FluEgg Model for the St. Croix River

The USGS partnered with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to collect hydraulic and water chemistry data in the lower St. Croix River for development of a model that predicts the probability of successful egg hatching and survival of juvenile invasive carp over a range of water temperature and streamflow conditions.

Equipment enclosure and rain gage by agricultural field in Michigan
Date Published: April 4, 2019
Status: Active

Isoxaflutole Monitoring

This project is investigating the potential persistence of isoxaflutole, a pesticide, and its metabolites in groundwater and surface water near agricultural fields in Michigan.

Photo of a tree-lined street in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Date Published: April 3, 2019
Status: Active

Monitoring and predicting the impacts of trees on urban stormwater volume reduction

Much has been learned about how effectively individual green infrastructure practices can reduce stormwater volume, however, the role of urban trees in stormwater detention is poorly understood. This study will quantify the effect of tree removal on the urban hydrologic cycle and measure the impact that trees have on stormwater runoff volume.

Contacts: William R Selbig, Steve Loheid, Bill Shuster, Dave Nowak
Arsenic speciation analyses of groundwater samples
Date Published: April 2, 2019
Status: Active

Arsenic in Minnesota groundwater—Occurrence and relation to hydrogeologic and geochemical factors

Geologic-sourced arsenic is common in Minnesota groundwater. Drinking-water managers, well owners, and well contractors need to know where and why high arsenic in groundwater is likely to occur in wells in order to take measures to protect public health. The USGS is assessing the spatial distribution of high arsenic groundwater in Minnesota, and identifying factors affecting arsenic...

Contacts: Melinda L Erickson, Ph.D., P.E., Emily Berquist, P.G.
Photo of fall leaves clogging a storm sewer outfall
Date Published: April 2, 2019
Status: Active

Using leaf collection and street cleaning to reduce nutrients in urban stormwater

Decaying organic materials, like leaf litter, can release excess nutrients into local streams and lakes, causing eutrophication and algal blooms. To determine if a municipal leaf collection and street cleaning program can reduce nutrients in stormwater runoff, the USGS measured phosphorus and nitrogen in stormwater from residential areas in Madison, Wis.

Contacts: William R Selbig, Greg Fries, Phil Gaebler, Paul Dearlove, Christal Campbell, Casey Eggelston, Stephen McCracken
St. Louis River, looking downstream from County Highway 52 bridge crossing.
Date Published: March 31, 2019
Status: Active

Assessing Hydrologic Changes in the St. Louis River Basin from Past Land Uses

Resource managers can use assessments of past and future land use to make science-based decisions.  This project characterizes how changes in land use can change groundwater and surface-water flows in the St. Louis River Basin, MN. The USGS is constructing a set of groundwater models to simulate groundwater/surface-water interactions and evaluate how water flows have changed.

Contacts: Timothy K Cowdery, Nancy Schuldt
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Water Data Reports for Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina
October 5, 2018

Beginning with Water Year 2006 and ending with Water Year 2013, annual water data reports were made available as individual electronic Site Data Sheets for the entire Nation for retrieval, download, and localized printing on demand. As of 2014, NWISWeb now provides an on-demand, print-ready Water-Year Summary as an annual water-data product.

Interactive map and chart highlighting USGS Domestic Continuous (Unconventional) Oil & Gas Assessments, 2000-Present
August 28, 2018

Interactively explore assessment summary information for continuous (unconventional) assessments conducted at the USGS from 2000-2018. The assessment results data used to generate this visualization can be downloaded here in Excel Format.  These data represent all assessment results for Continuous Assessments only from 2000-2018.

January 1, 2018

New gravity and magnetic compilations and elevation-bathymetry models have been compiled for the Lake Superior region. These data provide continuous sets of observations for geologic interpretations spanning political boundaries such as US States and the US-Canada border where bedrock geology is largely concealed beneath glacial deposits and surface water. These data are providing constraints for

January 1, 2018

In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers undertook a large-scale interagency field study to determine the influence of commercial barge vessels on the efficacy of the Electric Dispersal Barrier System (EDBS) in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC) in preventing fish passage. This study included a series of trials in

January 1, 2018

This worksheet displays the results of X-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses of samples from the Ironwood Iron-Formation. Samples were analyzed using a PANalytical X'Pert Pro diffractometer using Co radiation and the results interpreted using Highscore Plus v.4.5. Mineral abundances were determined by Rietveld refinement.

January 1, 2018

Nitrapyrin is a nitrification inhibitor that is co-applied with N-fertilizer in agroecosystems. Over the course of one year (March 2016 to June 2017), 192 water samples from seven streams across Iowa and Illinois were analyzed for nitrapyrin, its degradate 6-chloropicolinic acid (6-CPA), and three widely used herbicides acetochlor, atrazine, and metolachlor. Additional environme

January 1, 2018

The U.S. Geological Survey conducted a program of bedrock geologic mapping in much of the central and western upper peninsula of Michigan and parts of Wisconsin from the 1940’s until the late 1990’s. Geologic studies in this region are hampered by a scarcity of bedrock exposures because of a nearly continuous blanket of unconsolidated sediments resulting from glaciation of the reg

November 1, 2017

The Bemidji crude oil spill site is a long-term USGS study site to understand the fate of crude oil in the shallow subsurface. A description of the site can be found at https://mn.water.usgs.gov/projects/bemidji. In 2014 concentrations of non-volatile dissolved organic carbon (NVDOC) were three times higher than diesel range organics (DRO) in the contaminant plume*. This is im

Boulders in stream
September 27, 2017

Streamflow Conditions: Ohio || Kentucky || Indiana

Groundwater Conditions: Ohio || Kentucky || Indiana

Water-Quality Conditions: Ohio || Kentucky || Indiana

Lakes and Reservoirs: Ohio || Kentucky || Indiana

Climate: Ohio

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Dr. Ed Roseman speaking at AOC meeting in Cleveland
September 11, 2019

Dr. Ed Roseman Delivers Plenary Address to AOC Meeting in Cleveland

GSLC research fish biologist, Dr. Ed Roseman, delivers a plenary address at the Great Lakes Areas of Concern (AOC) conference on September 11-12, 2019.

National Geographic photographer at HBBS
September 11, 2019

National Geographic Visits Hammond Bay to Photograph Sea Lamprey

National Geographic photographer, Keith Ladzinski, photographs live sea lamprey at Hammond Bay Biological Station on September 11, 2019 for an expansive article featuring the Great Lakes.

View of Lake Michigan from beach
July 25, 2019

View of Lake Michigan from beach

View of Lake Michigan from beach.

Downtown Milwaukee with crew row boat
July 25, 2019

Downtown Milwaukee with crew row boat

View of downtown Milwaukee with single crew row boat on river.

Large-volume virus water sample filtration and collection system schematic
July 24, 2019

Virus water sample filtration and collection system schematic

Custom-designed, automated, large-volume virus water sample filtration and collection system schematic.

USGS scientist extruding Lake Mendota sediment from polycarbonate tube
July 23, 2019

USGS scientist extruding Lake Mendota sediment from polycarbonate tube

USGS scientist extruding Lake Mendota, WI sediment while carefully removing sediment that was in contact with the polycarbonate tube to eliminate “edge effects” and smearing of upper sediment into lower portions of the core, UW-Madison Science Hall Lab.

OH K-12 teachers Learning About Watersheds
June 25, 2019

Teaching the Teachers in Ohio

USGS worked with regional partners to provide Ohio K-12 teachers educational resources to teach about watersheds in their classrooms. 

An algae bloom on Lake Le-Auqa-Na, Illinois.
June 17, 2019

Algal blooms occur in many water bodies where there is too much "food"

Harmful Algal Blooms

USGS scientists identified potentially harmful levels of cyanobacteria in lakes they sampled in Illinois during the drought of 2012. Toxins produced by the cyanobacteria were measured at harmful concentrations in four lakes.  Cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, are capable of generating toxins (cyanotoxins), such as microcystin, that

Hammond Bay Biological Station Field Work Collage
June 3, 2019

Voice of America Visits Hammond Bay Biological Station

GLSC Hammond Bay Biological Station research was filmed by Voice of America (VOA) News on June 2-3, 2019. Clockwise from top right: VOA videographer, Ailin Li, interviewing Scott Miehls, USGS; live sea lamprey; videography team at the Ocqueoc River sea lamprey barrier and trap, (L-R) Nathan Allen, GLFC, Josh Benson, Andrea Miehls, GLFC/USGS, Ed Benzer, FWS, Ailin Li, VOA,

A brown newt on green moss.
May 31, 2019

Newt spotted during fieldwork in Wisconsin

A newt seen during fieldwork in Wisconsin sampling newts for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) an emerging fungal pathogen.

Acoustic Telemetry Used to Track Fish
May 30, 2019

Acoustic Telemetry Used to Track Fish

Staff from the USGS Great Lakes Science Center gaze at the Mackinac Bridge rising above the mist in the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan. The lines they are holding are attached to grappling hooks being used to retrieve acoustic telemetry equipment anchored on the bottom of the straits. The equipment is used to track fish movements in the Great Lakes and was deployed as part

Filter Total Items: 253
Tadpole with SPI
September 19, 2017

A deadly amphibian disease called severe Perkinsea infections, or SPI, is the cause of many large-scale frog die-offs in the United States, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey

White Bear Lake thumbnail
September 6, 2017

Both precipitation and groundwater withdrawals, among other factors, influence lake-water levels in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the extent of these changes vary among lakes, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

UMESC Building
September 5, 2017

The public is invited to attend a free, family-friendly open house at a local U.S. Geological Survey center for ecology research on Saturday, September 9.  

Lake Michigan at Sunset
August 16, 2017

Invasive mussels and less nutrients from tributaries have altered the Lake Michigan ecosystem making it more conducive to the stocking of lake trout and steelhead than Chinook salmon, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey and Michigan State University study.

Hibernating little brown bat with white muzzle and spots on wings typical of white-nose syndrome. (Photo by Greg Turner, Pennsyl
August 1, 2017

The cold-loving fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans, or Pd) that causes white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of North American bats during hibernation, could also spread in summer months. Bats and humans visiting contaminated caves and mines can inadvertently contribute to the spread of the fungus, according to a recently published study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

July 14, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring heavy flooding in the Columbus and Newark Ohio areas, as well as the northwest part of the state.

Image of a red dye study conducted in the Brandon Road Lock on the Des Plaines River near Joliet, Illinois, in 2015.
June 6, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey scientists will inject a harmless, bright red fluorescent dye into the auxiliary lock at Locks and Dam 14 on the Mississippi River near Pleasant Valley, Iowa, Tuesday, June 13, 2017, weather permitting. If needed, a backup date is scheduled for June 27, 2017.  

Southeastern myotis with Pd - thumb
June 1, 2017

Biologists have confirmed white-nose syndrome in the southeastern bat, or Myotis austroriparius, for the first time. The species joins eight other hibernating bat species in North America that are afflicted with the deadly bat fungal disease.

Jumping Silver Carp
April 26, 2017

If invasive bighead carp and silver carp spread into Lake Michigan, there would be enough food available for these particular species of Asian carp to survive, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Image shows a male white-tailed deer facing to the left of the image.
April 18, 2017

A new tool, which predicted the recent, rapid growth and continued spread of chronic wasting disease in deer, can help forecast and manage other costly biological threats to humans, animals and the environment, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.

April 17, 2017

For more than two decades, researchers, geologists, and investors had no idea they were standing above tremendous wealth. Thousands of feet deep beneath the surface of western Michigan, a potential multibillion-dollar potash deposit was discovered. Potash—a mineral salt containing high levels of potassium—is an ingredient in fertilizer essential for growing crops.

Filter Total Items: 375