testing ship to mark Earth Day next to historic Old Fort
YOUNGSTOWN - The Lake Guardian, the largest pollution monitoring
vessel on the Great Lakes, is scheduled to dock at the U.S.
Coast Guard pier here Monday after spending the past
week smelling the air.
The docking next
to Old Fort Niagara will coincide with the 32nd annual
observation of Earth Day.
laboratory, which is owned by the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency and has nine scientists on board, has been testing
the air above the lake for pollutants that can affect
fish and other aquatic life in the lake. The ship covered
a similar course last summer testing the water for contaminants.
The data collected
from testing the water and air will be available by the
end of the year, officials said.
this will help us in our continuing efforts to bring Lake
Ontario back to ecological health," said Michael
J. Basile, the EPA's public information officer in Niagara
to repair the ecological damage of a century of development
and pollution along the shores of the Great Lakes and
the Niagara River have been under way for the past 15
In 1987, the
EPA and the state Department of Environmental Conservation
teamed up with their Canadian counterparts, Environment
Canada and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, to
detect the problems and halt the decline of fish, plant
and wildlife in and around the lakes.
achieved considerable success in restoring Lake Ontario
and the Niagara River ecosystems, but there is still a
lot that has to be done," said Donald Zelazny, the
DEC's Great Lakes programs coordinator.
back to 1987, we knew we had a long way to go," said
Basile. "We're still on that journey."
Leading the way
is the 1,700-ton Lake Guardian, ironically a former offshore
oil field vessel. Its mission is to gather information
on the chemical and biological conditions of the lakes
and to monitor the concentrations of pollutants in the
sediment at the bottom, in the water and in the air.
The ship, based
in Bay City. Mich., left Rochester a week ago with a crew
of 11, scientists from three state universities, three
permanent laboratories and highly sophisticated analytical
from Oswego and Fredonia state colleges and Clarkson University,
spent the week studying how much air pollution is being
carried into the lake from wind, rain and snow.
ship can also carry up to eight portable labs, which can
also be set up on land, to test just about any pollution
known to man, Basile said.
Guardian belongs to us all," said Basile. "When
it goes to work, we all benefit."