GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — This week the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin and NEW Water partnered to put the Green Bay West and East buoys back on the water.
They are fundamental tools used to measure current weather conditions like wind speed, air and water temperatures and wave height.
“Instead of being able to monitor from a boat once a week and taking a water sample. These data buoy systems are out there on the water 24/7 and reporting the data in real-time,” said Todd Miller, an associate professor at UW-Milwaukee.
In addition to monitoring the weather, the buoys play a role in tracking potential toxic algae blooms.
“In the lower bay here we have days when there are warnings when there are harmful algae blooms, and you shouldn’t go swimming,” stated Chris Houghton, who is with UW-Green Bay.
“We just don’t know how cytotoxins… how they affect humans. So, if we can do research on where they are in Green Bay, and if we can do anything to help public health,” said Sarah Bartlett, a water resources specialist with NEW Water.
“There are several ways to determine if there are cyanobacteria in the water. If you don’t have any sensors in the water, the best metric is water color. Cyanobacteria will be lime green and can form scums at the surface, especially on calm days.”
HOW TO FIND WATER CONDITIONS IN YOUR AREA?
These buoys have data that can be accessed by sending just one text. Every buoy on the Great Lakes can be found online. All you have to do is text a buoy number to 866.218.9973 and you will get the latest conditions texted back to you.
The buoys are linked to a previous 5-year grant, but they say that the information they bring to swimmers and boaters is priceless.