The Environment and You: A Summer Data Guide

Summer’s here.  That means more time outdoors on the water, at the beach and under the sun. With each type of enjoyment comes the need for accurate information to protect against polluted water and air, excessive UV rays and fish contaminants.

Great Lakes recreational risks include:

  • Rip currents. In 2023, 85 people drowned in the Great Lakes, most from rip currents.
  • Hypothermia.  Even water that is relatively warm for the Great Lakes can overwhelm the body with prolonged exposure.
  • Respiratory difficulties.  Seasons like 2023, when smoke from distant Canadian wildfires, as well as local sources, ed to prolonged air pollution and alerts, can harm the respiratory system.

A surprising number of government agencies and a few private entities offer useful on-line information.  We’ve scouted out some of them which you can access at the links below.

Before you go, check out:


Public beach closings


Great Lakes Surface Water Temperatures


UV Index


Air Quality


Wind Speed and Direction


Great Lakes Rip Current Information


Contaminants in Fish

And if you’re interested in seeing the latest data and trends on detection of Covid-19 in wastewater (an indicator of future trends), click here.

While enjoying the outdoors, we should be good stewards by shunning plastic waste that fouls beaches, eliminating litter, protecting water quality from pet waste, and reducing automobile use to curb air pollution.

Enjoy the environment we all try to protect – but enjoy it safely.

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