Real-time monitoring buoys show extreme lows and highs are new norm
'You can tell how much water is going to come onto shore'
Two area scientists have deployed real-time monitoring buoys in the Great Lakes and near the LaSalle shoreline.
Aaron Fisk and Trevor Pitcher, both professors with the Great Lakes Instittue for Environmental Research, received emergency funding to help LaSalle monitor water levels.
"Last year we got a rather large grant, and a lot of the equipment can give us real-time data," said Fisk. "Everyone who lives there knows there's no where for the water to go."
Fisk said it's important to monitor both wind and waves.
"As the waves get bigger and the wind gets bigger you can tell how much water is going to come onto shore."
The buoys deployed this week were done quickly, and the two plan to put more out next week.
According to Fisk, it could be a multi-year project if the municipality wants to continue.
"Depending on the need and depending on the interest of the city, I think we could continue to do this over the next couple of years," said Fisk.
Pitcher said even their facility is at risk of the high water levels.
"We're really on the edge," said Pitcher. "So we have a vested interest in helping the town. We've seen the lows and highs and I think we've learned that [they] are the new norm."
According to Pitcher, it's how to deal with the fluctuation that will be the focus in the coming decades — and Fisk said extreme events have become the norm.
"This problem is a growing issue," said Fisk. "To think this is a one off I think is sort of keeping your head in the sand."