EPA docks large research ship in Rochester

Jennifer Ly
Updated: April 12, 2021 06:53 PM
Created: April 12, 2021 10:30 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The Environmental Protection Agency’s largest research vessel has set sail for its research journey, and one of the stops is right here in Rochester to visit Lake Ontario. 

Spectators may see the Lake Guardian at the Port of Rochester. A team of 11 scientists and 15 crew members are all aboard the ship where they live and work simultaneously. They collect and evaluate the water quality, sediment and animal and plant life of all the five Great Lakes. These efforts help scientists better understand the ecosystem while also monitoring any changing trends. 

The vessel is owned and operated by the EPA’s Great Lakes National Program Office. Since 1983, the Great Lakes National Program Office conducts environmental studies every spring and summer with the exception of 2020 due to COVID-19.  

“Some of the key factors that we’re monitoring for, and looking at the impacts of, are changes to nutrient inputs,” said Dr. Annie Scofield, the lead of the Biology Monitoring Program. “As we change things like farming practices or different water treatments, that’s affecting the nutrients going into the lakes. We’ve seen changes in all of the lakes over time, especially Lake Michigan, Huron and Ontario.” 

Lake Guardian also likes to promote STEM education and does outreach with local schools. High school students from Perry Central High School sent in decorated Styrofoam cups, which are then submerged into the deepest parts of Lake Superior. Once pressurized because of the lake’s depth, the much smaller cups are sent back to the students to then be studied in their science classes.

Any educators interested in participating in this STEM program, you can visit Lake Guardian’s press release for more information. 

Lake Guardian will set sail for the last part of its voyage Tuesday morning.

You can learn more about the ship here.

Copyright 2021 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company