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: 212
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
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...

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
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
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
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.

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.

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.

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
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.
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
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
Filter Total Items: 62
Date published: December 6, 2018

Downloadable Data for Iowa Shelf Oil and Gas Assessments

GIS Data for Iowa Shelf Oil and Gas Assessments 

Date published: December 6, 2018

Downloadable Data for Superior Oil and Gas Assessments

GIS Data for Superior Province Oil and Gas Assessments

Date published: November 30, 2018

Downloadable Data for Michigan Basin Oil and Gas Assessments

GIS Data for Michigan Basin Oil and Gas Assessments 

Date published: October 5, 2018

Annual Water Data Reports - Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri

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.

Date published: August 28, 2018

USGS Domestic Continuous (Unconventional) Oil & Gas Assessments, 2000-Present

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...

Date published: January 1, 2018

Water velocity profiling at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Electric Dispersal Barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal during passage of fully-loaded commercial tows in August 2017: Wall Mounted Channel Master

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

Date published: January 1, 2018

X-ray diffraction data from the Ironwood Iron-Formation, Gogebic Iron Range, Wisconsin, USA (ver. 2.0, April 2019)

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.

Date published: January 1, 2018

Nitrapyrin, 6-CPA, and herbicide concentrations in agricultural soils, subsurface drains, and corresponding streams in the Midwestern US

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

Date published: January 1, 2018

Exposed Precambrian Bedrock in Part of Dickinson County, Michigan, and Marinette and Florence Counties, Wisconsin

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

Date published: November 1, 2017

Nonvolatile dissolved organic carbon and diesel range organics concentrations measured in 2016 at the USGS crude oil study site near Bemidji, Minnesota, USA

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 (...

Date published: September 27, 2017

Current Conditions

Streamflow Conditions: Ohio || Kentucky || Indiana

Groundwater Conditions:...

Filter Total Items: 543
Pectoral Spine Cross Section
September 20, 2019

Aging a Fish Using a Spine

A pectoral spine cross section from invasive grass carp captured in the Great Lakes. These cross sections are used to determine the age of the fish.

Fish Vertebra Cross Section
September 20, 2019

Aging a Fish Using a Vertebra Cross Section

Cross section of a fish vertebra. Useful for determining the age of a fish.

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,

Filter Total Items: 258
March 1, 2018

Residents and visitors may witness a low-flying airplane above the broader Iron Mountain-Escanaba-Marquette region starting at the beginning of April, 2018.

USGS' Brian Selck samples a private well in Lycoming County, PA
February 8, 2018

The reliability of arsenic testing for drinking water in Minnesota depends on how and when well water samples are collected, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Health study, which highlights ways to improve the accuracy of arsenic tests for private wells.

Image shows a screenshot of the Mid-Continent Rift Story Map
January 25, 2018

The first great geologic expeditions of the United States set off in the mid-1800s, equipped with mules, rifles, and early scientific instruments. Their goal: to uncover the great mineral wealth of the United States and learn about its earliest geologic history.

Photo of a young girl drinking water, which likely originated from groundwater sources. 
December 7, 2017

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, which includes parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Exterior of a municipal water pumping station
December 6, 2017

Oxygen levels, dissolved minerals among factors responsible for high concentrations of radium in untreated water from aquifer that underlies six states

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.

Filter Total Items: 375