Buoys back in Bay of Green Bay will bring water insights to boaters, and researchers

Beyond The Forecast

(WFRV) – This week the DNR, UW-Green Bay, UW-Milwaukee, and NEW Water partnered to put the Green Bay West and East buoys back on the water.

They are fundamental tools used to measure current weather conditions like wind speed, water temperatures, air temperatures, and wave height.

Todd Miller, an Associate Professor at UW-Milwaukee, says, “Instead of being able to monitor from a boat once a week and taking a water sample. These data buoy systems are out there on the water 24/7 and reporting the data in real-time.”

In addition to monitoring the weather, the buoys play a role in tracking potential toxic algae blooms.

“In the lower bay here we have days when there are warnings when there are harmful algae blooms, and you shouldn’t go swimming,” stated Chris Houghton, who is with UW-Green Bay.

Sarah Bartlett is a Water Resources Specialist with NEW Water. She says, “We just don’t know how cytotoxins… how they affect humans. So, if we can do research on where they are in Green Bay, and if we can do anything to help public health.”

“There are several ways to determine if there are cyanobacteria in the water. If you don’t have any sensors in the water, the best metric is water color. Cyanobacteria will be lime green and can form scums at the surface, especially on calm days.

How to find water conditions in your area?

These buoys have data that can be accessed by sending just one text. Every buoy on the Great Lakes can be found on this website. All you have to do is text a buoy number to 866-218-9973 and you will get the latest conditions texted back to you.

The buoys are linked to a previous 5-year grant, but they say that the information they bring to swimmers and boaters is priceless.

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