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The EPA's floating laboratory ~ Lake Guardian~

The EPA's floating laboratory ~ Lake Guardian~

was spotted upbound in St. Mary's River North Channel

SAULT STE MARIE, ONTARIO  ~~~~~~   July 1, 2021  (LSN)  The EPA's floating laboratory ~ Lake Guardian~  was spotted upbound in St. Mary's River North Channel.

The incredible looking vessel, Lake Guardian was spotted upbound in St. Mary's River, The North Channel, Sailor's Encampment, St. Joseph Island, Ontario on June 23rd, 2021 at 2:24 pm.  Looking across the St. Mary's River, is Upper Peninsula Michigan at Neebish.

The Research Vessel (R/V) Lake Guardian is the largest research vessel in the E.P.A. (United States Environmental Protection Agency)  fleet and the largest research vessel operating on the Great Lakes. The R/V Lake Guardian is 180 feet in length, with a gross tonnage of 283 tons, a displaced tonnage of 850 tons, and a cruising speed of 11 knots. It has a berthing capacity of 41 people, including 14 crew members and 27 visiting scientists.

R/V Lake Guardian is owned by the EPA Great Lakes National Program Office (GLNPO). The R/V Lake Guardian assists GLNPO in monitoring and reporting on the status and trends of the Great Lakes ecosystem. Annual surveys that sample water and biological life at designated locations in all five Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario) are conducted by the R/V Lake Guardian.

The R/V Lake Guardian assists with GLNPO's mission for monitoring and reporting on the status and trends of the Great Lakes ecosystem. GLNPO has mandates to help restore and protect the health of the Great Lakes as required under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Sampling from aboard the R/V Lake Guardian, operating on all five Great Lakes, is used to monitor the water quality and health of the lakes. The R/V Lake Guardian also provides educational opportunities around the Great Lakes basin.

The R/V Lake Guardian conducts sampling surveys on all five Great Lakes during both the spring (late March, after ice break-up) and summer (August) seasons. The spring survey monitors lake health during a time of low biological activity, when the lakes are well-mixed. The summer survey monitors lake health during the season of high biological activity, when the lakes are stratified.

 During these surveys, water, plankton and benthos samples are taken at designated stations throughout each lake. These monitoring surveys have been ongoing in the lakes since 1983, resulting in an exceptional long-term monitoring dataset for evaluating the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem through time.

In addition to the annual spring and summer surveys, the R/V Lake Guardian conducts:

  • Dissolved oxygen surveys on Lake Erie,
  • Educator cruises through the Illinois-Indiana Sea Great, and
  • Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI) surveys, thoroughly sampling one Great Lake every year, rotating on a five-year cycle.

The R/V Lake Guardian is equipped with three dedicated laboratories:

  • a general purpose or "wet" laboratory,
  • chemistry laboratory, and
  • biology laboratory.

The wet laboratory is the main collection space where samples are first brought onboard. Raw water samples are processed in the wet laboratory, with a subset passing on to the chemistry laboratory for on-board nutrient analysis. Zooplankton, phytoplankton, and chlorophyll-a samples are processed in the biology laboratory.

The ship is equipped with state-of-the-art limnology sampling equipment. The Rosette water sampler, outfitted with a Sea-Bird multi-parameter profiler (conductivity, temperature and depth) and other water quality probes and sensors, is the main water sample collection device.

Sediment samples are collected from the bottom of the lakes using a PONAR sampler, a box corer and a multi-corer. A benthic sled is also deployed for video analysis of the lake bottom and collection of lake benthos and epibenthos. Zooplankton and Mysis samples are collected by pulling nets vertically through the water.

During monitoring surveys, EPA offers opportunities for scientists from federal and state governments and universities to conduct research aboard the R/V Lake Guardian. Research compatible with the standard sampling performed at each station is especially encouraged.

#LSN_SSM  #LSN_Shipping 

Shades of North

Lynne Brown 
Lynne Brown

Algoma writer and reporter. Has written for special editions Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal ~ freelance contributor to Anishinabek News, Lake Superior News. Former Content Director Superior Media. Lynne developed 'Seniors Calling' as a regular feature for various publications. In the 80’s, Lynne worked for AutoTrader Magazine in rural Southwestern Ont. Trudging through a farmers’ field for a picture of a 56 Dodge Custom Royal was considered a very good day.

Lynne is mom to Kyle and Benjamin and a former resident of rural Thunder Bay. 

Special interests include issues relating to rural life, seniors, travel, history, community development and indigenous peoples. @dlynnebrown on twitter 

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Lake Superior News / Lake Superior Media.

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