By David A. Kaiser III

Allow me to introduce the Lake Guardian. The US EPA’s Research Vessel.

Picture of the US EPA Lake Guardian

This photo is of the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Research Vessel called the ‘Lake Guardian,’ docked at the University of Wisconsin School of Freshwater Sciences in Milwaukee Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Michigan.

It was just this weekend I stumbled upon this great research ship that is responsible for monitoring, testing and conducting experiments in the Great Lakes. This ship is 180 feet long and weighs in at 850 tons! This ship has been in operation since 1981. The EPA uses this ship to collect chemical and biological data from the lakes. One of the things that strikes me as interesting was the amount of radar and scientific instruments visible on the ship. After some digging around on the internet, I came upon the official Lake Guardian webpage where they feature a tour of the ship. The next question I asked myself was, “Who works on this ship and what do they do?” Because I wanted to climb aboard! After some more digging around I found this guy Dr. Michael Milligan and I listened to his story. Talking about contaminants in the lakes.

My goal on this trip was simply to visit the UWM campus School of Freshwater Sciences and see what they offer for groundwater education. Knowing where our clients water comes from, either from a well or city supplied water, from Lake Michigan; its important to study emerging contaminants and practical water treatment methods to ensure the safety of our clients and of the environment.

UWM School Entrance

Entrance to the University of Wisconsin School of Freshwater Sciences in Milwaukee Wisconsin

UWM School

University of Wisconsin School of Freshwater Sciences in Milwaukee Wisconsin on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Everything about this building resembles water. The area around the building is also designed to be environmentally friendly, including native vegetation and gravel parking lot to allow water to drain.

Another steward of the Great Lakes is the Alliance for Great Lakes. This is an outstanding organization who has been diligent about beach cleanup days and community outreach. If you’re interested in participating in a beach clean up with the family, please visit them here. 

So who protects the Great Lakes? We all protect the Great Lakes. We’re all responsible for our own water supply. The water in the Great Lakes and also the groundwater under our feet. Whatever chemical or stuff we leave out in the environment, will surely find its way into the water supply.


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