MSU researchers seek volunteers to monitor lake levels

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Tunnel Park on Lake Michigan in April 2021. (Nick Ponton/WOOD TV8)

EAST LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Researchers at Michigan State University are calling on “citizen scientists” around the region to volunteer and help monitor water levels and erosion at the Great Lakes.

Levels are down this year after rising previously, but researchers say, “the threat is far from over.”

Now, MIResearchers at MSU are asking volunteers to help in South Haven, Manistee, Marquette, Manistique, Chikaming and Iosco. The research will help better understand how the coastline has changed over time.

“Right now, no one really knows if that sand is just sitting out in the lake waiting to come back to the beaches and dunes as lake levels fall, or if it’s been lost from the system into deep water,” Ethan Theuerkauf, an assistant professor at MSU, said.

The research is being funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Coastlines and People program, which will equip and train volunteers to fly drones and use technology to help monitor and collect data.

“Because these sorts of changes can present major challenges for people living and working along our coastlines, we’re working on a variety of projects to better equip citizens and communities with the information and tools they need to address these challenges,” Elizabeth Mack, an associate professor at MSU, said.

Researchers are hoping to find ways to prevent further loss of land along the lakeshore.

If you’re interested in volunteering, you can sign up on MSU’s College of Social Sciences website.

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