Lake Huron News

ASV BEN (Bathymetric Explorer and Navigator) is a custom prototype built by SV Global Unmanned Marine System for University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping. ASV BEN has a state-of-the art seafloor mapping system that can map depths reaching 650 feet. (Photo: Ocean Exploration Trust)

Searching for Shipwrecks

The ice had barely retreated from the coast of northern Lake Huron this spring when a group of farflung researchers converged in Rogers City, Michigan. They were there to map unexplored areas of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. If all went well, they would discover new shipwrecks and natural features such as sinkholes, fish habitats, and interesting geological formations.During the two-week expedition, researchers mapped areas within the sanctuary with a multibeam sonar system aboard autonomous surface vehicle ASV BEN (Bathymetric Explorer and Navigator) from University of New Hampshire’s

A 25-foot section of inland underwater oil barrier is laid out on a dock prior to deployment, Monday, April 23, 2018, in Kalamazoo, Mich. The three-foot high barrier is made of PVC and X-Tex fabric, and is designed to let water flow through while trapping oil. Weighted chains and scour flaps prevent oil and sediment from flowing underneath the barrier. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo courtesy of Research and Development Center)

Coast Guard Tests Underwater Oil Barrier System

conditions and the type of oil spilled, oil can sink to the bottom of inland water bodies and travel with the current.RDC returned to Michigan in late May to test an underwater barrier system designed for offshore environments and large lakes. The test was conducted from Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock in Lake Huron near Port Huron.RDC will consolidate results and lessons learned from both tests into a single report and make it available to the public

Choctaw. Photo: Ocean Explorer, NOAA

Two Shipwrecks Found in Lake Huron

identified two previously undiscovered historic shipwrecks in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The shipwrecks are the wooden steamer Ohio (1873-1894) and the steel-hulled steamer Choctaw (1892-1915).   In May 2017, a sanctuary-led expedition used high-resolution sonars to map the bottom of Lake Huron, during which they located the two ships.  At the time, researchers were confident they had discovered the 202-foot Ohio and the 266-foot Choctaw.  The team recently confirmed the vessels’ identities using underwater robots to collect photos and video of the shipwrecks.   The

Phase IV started with a series of ‘work-up’ dives used to practice technical diving techniques and refine the photogrammetric imagery acquisition protocols before visiting deeper sites. Here, NOAA Diver Joe Hoyt swims above the debris field off the stern of wooden bulk carrier New Orleans. He maintains a consistent altitude off the bottom, necessary to ensure broader coverage of the debris field features as the relate to the main vessel remains. (Credit: NOAA, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctua

Cutting Edge Tech Helps Find Lake Huron Shipwrecks

Researchers at NOAA’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary have recently completed a four-phase research project to test the application of technology to locate, document and explore shipwrecks lost in Lake Huron. Under a grant from NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary assembled an interdisciplinary team of researchers from around the country to support an expedition based from the sanctuary’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, Mich.    Thunder Bay’s superintendent, Jeff Gray, summarized the importance

A diver surveys the wreck of Lucinda Van Valkenburg, a wooden three-masted schooner that sank just north of Middle Island in 1887. (Photo: Tane Casserley/NOAA)

History Meets Technology in Shipwreck Alley

The vast stretches of cold, fresh water in the Great Lakes hide the stories of thousands of ships that wrecked in our nation’s inland seas. Historical records indicate more than a hundred shipwrecks have yet to be discovered in Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and research teams hope to discover more this summer.   From April through August, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary will lead four different teams using advanced technologies to push the boundaries of underwater archaeological survey and seek yet-to-be-discovered shipwrecks within the sanctuary.  

Ocean, Space-themed Missions for MATE ROV Competition

Regional MATE ROV Competition will be held from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on May 21 at the Alpena High School and Alpena County Plaza Pool at 3303 S. 3rd Ave, in Alpena, Michigan.   The 4,300 square-mile Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary works to protect the Great Lakes and their rich history. Lake Huron’s cold, fresh water preserves nearly 200 historic shipwrecks in and around the sanctuary. Through research, education, and community involvement, the sanctuary and its partners ensure that future generations can enjoy Thunder Bay’s irreplaceable underwater treasures.   The sanctuary&r

Image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Ice Coverage on Great Lakes 89 pct: NOAA

 Ice coverage on the Great Lakes is nearing 90 percent, reveals high resolution satellites images from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).   The entire Great Lakes is at 88.8 percent ice coverage, with the highest totals coming from Lake Huron and Lake Erie at about 96 percent ice coverage according to Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, part of NOAA.   The Laboratory, which monitors the ice coverage of the five Great Lakes, updated some satellite images Saturday showing how much ice is actually covering the Great Lakes.   Lake Superior is close

(Photo courtesy of Greensea Systems)

Balefire for SeaView ROV

Greensea Systems installed its ROV control system, Balefire, on a Saab Seaeye Falcon DR owned by SeaView Systems, Inc. SeaView supported NOAA earlier this summer in the multibeam survey of several shipwrecks in Thunderbay National Marine Sanctuary, Lake Huron, Michigan. To complete the survey, it was required that the vehicle be able to correlate navigation data and multibeam data accurately, hold station to allow for close-up camera inspection and conduct automated surveys at constant speeds and planned line spacings. Balefire provides for these capabilities and Greensea worked with SeaView to

Photo courtesy of Greensea Systems

Greensea Upgrades SeaView's ROV

., a developer of technology for Unmanned Underwater Vehicles, installed its advanced ROV control system, Balefire, on a Saab Seaeye Falcon DR owned by SeaView Systems, Inc. SeaView supported NOAA earlier this summer in the multibeam survey of several shipwrecks in Thunderbay National Marine Sanctuary, Lake Huron, Michigan. To successfully complete the survey, it was required the vehicle be able to correlate navigation data and multibeam data accurately, hold station to allow for close-up camera inspection and conduct automated surveys at constant speeds and planned line spacings. Balefire provides for

Bill Introduced to Assess Great Lakes Marine Sanctuaries

as federal marine sanctuaries. The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Assessment Act would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to submit to Congress a report and recommendations on possible Great Lakes sanctuaries. Today, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on Lake Huron near Alpena, Mich., which protects scores of historic shipwrecks, is the nation’s only freshwater federal sanctuary. Cosponsors are Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., a vice chair of the Great Lakes Task Force; Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Sen. Tammy Baldwin

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