Aug 06, 2018

New Buoys Monitor Erosion Along Northern Illinois Lakeshore

New buoys along along the Lake Michigan coastline monitor real-time data and coastal erosion

New buoys monitor Lake Michigan erosion
New buoys monitor Lake Michigan erosion

Scientists have installed two new buoys in Lake Michigan that record lake conditions in real-time. Placed approximately a mile offshore Waukegan Harbor and Winthrop Harbor’s North Point Marina, the buoys are curated by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the Great Lakes Observing System. They will be used to better understand coastal erosion along the northern Illinois lakefront.

Each buoy records wind speed, surface current, wave height and water temperatures. Additionally, they transmit photos and video clips each hour. According to the Chicago Tribune, these new buoys are the first to provide real-time data in this section of the Illinois shoreline, which has faced significant erosion in recent years.

The buoys are designed by LimnoTech and feature smart technology. They have a cellular modem to transmit data, are solar-powered and use high-quality webcams. Additionally, they weight 300 lb, where the Chicago Park District has similar buoys that weight 600 lb.

The new buoys were funded by a grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the Illinois State Geological Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Program.