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Lake Erie monitoring device retired for winter

BOLLES HARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A device used by the Army Corps of Engineers to study the dynamics of Lake Erie has been stored for the winter after being towed ashore at Bolles Harbor.

The hightech buoy has weather and water-measuring instruments that the Corps of Engineers used to study the impact of harbor dredging disposal in the Ohio waters of the lake, according to The Monroe Evening News ( http://bit.ly/1979miJ ).

It's also been used by anglers and emergency responders to monitor lake wind, waves, water temperatures and currents, said Ed Verhamme, project engineer for Limno-Tech, an Ann Arbor company that towed the $50,000 buoy ashore to inspect and store it.

"One of the key parts of the project is that we also made the data available in real time for the public," Verhamme said. "All the fishermen know about this. It has a webcam on it, too, so it sends data and images."

The company publicized its availability on fishing websites, where anglers could check conditions before venturing out, he said.

"There are probably 15 of these buoys around the Great Lakes, and most are put out by universities," Verhamme told the newspaper. "This is the only one on this side of Lake Erie."

Data from the buoy also helped improve predictions about algae blooms that have plagued the lake and increased costs for municipal water treatment plants.

The Corps contract is up, but the company hopes to find funds to put it on the lake again next spring.

"It's a good resource for local fisherman to know what conditions are like out on the lake," Verhamme said. "We hope to bring it back next year."

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