The Great Lakes cover over 95,000 square miles and contain trillions of gallons of water. These vestiges of the last Ice Age define immense. But their greatness makes water quality monitoring difficult.
In 2010, Titus Seilheimer, a US Forest Service research ecologist at the time, led a project funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that parsed the vastness of the Great Lakes to estimate water quality in different basins. This information can identify which areas are likely to receive high nutrient inputs – which can cause harmful algae blooms and dead zones – and where resource managers should invest in restoration efforts.