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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Video preview: Gov. Snyder visits Michigan Tech's GLRC

By Michele Bourdieu

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, third from left, chats with Guy Meadows, left, Great Lakes Research Center director, about Michigan Tech's monitoring buoy (lower left), which will soon be deployed in the Straits of Mackinac. Also pictured, from left, are Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Director Keith Creagh, Michigan 110th District Rep. Scott Dianda, and Michigan Tech University President Glenn Mroz. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)

[Editor's Note: This article is a preview of a more comprehensive report on today's visit by Gov. Snyder to Michigan Tech. Watch for the full article, coming soon.]

HOUGHTON -- Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, along with several state officials, visited Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) today to learn about a partnership between the GLRC and Enbridge to monitor the Straits of Mackinac.

Enbridge owns an aging, 62-year-old pipeline, Line 5, which runs underneath the Straits and carries more than 500,000 barrels of oil/petroleum products each day. Citizens and environmental groups have called for Line 5 to be shut down because of concerns about a potential oil spill that could have disastrous effects on the Straits, Mackinac Island and surrounding areas and the Great Lakes ecosystem.*

In addition to touring the GLRC and observing some of the technology to be used in the project, including a monitoring buoy to be deployed in the Straits of Mackinac next week, Snyder and other officials, including DNR Director Keith Creagh, took a short ride on Michigan Tech's Research Vessel Agassiz and spoke with representatives of several media outlets.**

Here Gov. Snyder fields some questions from the media:

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder answers questions from the media during a visit to Michigan Tech University's Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) today, Aug. 13, 2015. Snyder and other officials toured the GLRC and learned about a partnership between Michigan Tech and Enbridge to monitor the Straits of Mackinac, where Enbridge has an aging pipeline. Michigan Tech will deploy a monitoring buoy in the Straits next week as part of the project. (Video by Keweenaw Now)

* To learn more about citizens' concerns about the pipeline, see our June 17, 2015, article, "Scientific report on Enbridge pipeline under Mackinac Straits warns of risks; citizens call for pipeline shutdown." See also

** Visit the GLRC Web site to learn more about their work. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Michigan Tech News: Enbridge engages Michigan Tech to monitor Straits of Mackinac

By Jennifer Donovan, Michigan Tech Director of News and Media Relations
Posted August 12, 2015, on Michigan Tech News
Reprinted here with permission.

Deploying the buoy to monitor water conditions in the Straits of Mackinac. (Photo courtesy Michigan Tech University. Reprinted with permission.)

Enbridge Energy Partners LP is calling on the expertise of Michigan Technological University’s Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) to provide real-time environmental monitoring of the water conditions in the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge Partners is sponsoring the GLRC’s efforts to integrate another monitoring buoy into the Upper Great Lakes Observing System (UGLOS). The GLRC will deploy, operate and disseminate data from the buoy for the benefit of all who use this important waterway.*

Up to now, there have been limited real-time measurements in this environmentally and economically important section of the Great Lakes.

"The Straits of Mackinac are probably the most heavily travelled portion of all the Great Lakes," said Guy Meadows, GLRC director and leader of the Enbridge Partners-sponsored project.

Commercial shipping, the US Coast Guard, fishing, ferries and tourism all depend on the Straits, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. The confluence of these two large lakes causes complex and constantly changing currents and other conditions that affect those using the waterway. In addition, there are a variety of underwater structures in the area, such as Enbridge’s Line 5 and municipal utilities.**

"Employing the expertise of the GLRC will provide important information to keep the Straits safe for everyone who uses the waterway," said Dave Hoffman, senior manager of research, development and innovation for Enbridge Pipelines. "Enbridge Partners’ Line 5, which crosses under the Straits, is diligently monitored 24/7. The dual pipelines are operated and inspected using state-of-the-art tools and technologies. This buoy, also state-of-the-art, will give us additional data to enhance our legacy of safe operations that dates back for more than 60 years. Enbridge Partners is proud to be part of this project, which will benefit all who use and enjoy the Straits."

The new buoy will be equipped with standard weather and wave sensors and an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) that measures the flow of the water beneath the buoy by "looking downward" using sound waves. The ADCP will measure the magnitude and direction of currents at one-meter intervals from near the surface to the bottom. 

The buoy will also measure wind direction and speed, wind gust speed, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, solar radiation, water temperature, wave height and direction.

"Enbridge Partners’ support allows us to further our development of advanced numerical predictive models for the Great Lakes," Meadows said. "We will now be able to verify the predictions of the very complex flows through the Straits of Mackinac with real-time data from the buoy.  It will also enable us to verify our new numerical hydrodynamic model of the combined Lakes Michigan and Huron."

The computer model is running on the GLRC's new supercomputer, nicknamed "Superior."

The buoy is being assembled at the GLRC in Houghton, Mich. It is anticipated that the buoy will be deployed this month, west of the Mackinac Bridge and on the Upper Peninsula side of the Straits, where the water is approximately 100 feet deep.

Once in operation, the data it collects will be displayed on the GLRC’s UGLOS website and updated every 10 minutes. All data will be accessible to the public at

 "We previously have worked with Michigan Tech and its GLRC to conduct inspections of Line 5," said Hoffman. "We are impressed with the professionalism and expertise of the GLRC staff. When presented with this buoy-monitoring opportunity, Enbridge Partners was eager to sponsor this effort. This two-year project provides an additional layer of monitoring in the area to keep our pipelines safe and protect this sensitive and important waterway."


* Click here to learn more about Michigan Tech's Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC).

**  Read Enbridge's description of their Line 5 here.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Club Indigo to feature Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" with French buffet Aug. 14

CALUMET -- Club Indigo will feature a feel-good movie -- Woody Allen's light-hearted, sentimental fantasy, Midnight in Paris -- this Friday, Aug. 14, at the Calumet Theatre.

Much like his earlier Purple Rose of Cairo, Allen takes us on a dream-like pleasure trip, in this case to all the familiar places in the City of Light. Our hero (played by Owen Wilson) finds himself miraculously among some of the most renowned Parisians of the 20s -- from Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso to F.Scott Fitzgerald and Salvador Dali.

The movie will be shown at 7:15 p.m., preceded by a buffet of French cuisine at 6 p.m. as created by the chefs from the Keweenaw Co-op, Hancock. Cost for both food and film, $21.

Film only, $6. A discount for kids 10 and under. For a reservation for the buffet, call the theater at 337-2610 before 5 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 13.