U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Research and Development, Paul Anastas today joins Congressman Jim Oberstar, D-Chisholm in the christening of the Lake Explorer II, a new vessel to support EPA research in the Great Lakes Area.
The vessel is being commissioned as the RV Lake Explorer II to support EPA research in the Great Lakes—a vast region with over 10,000 miles of shoreline. The Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on earth, and provide water for drinking, transportation, power, recreation and many other uses.
The Lake Explorer II will be used to conduct applied and exploratory research on environmental stressors affecting water quality and biological integrity of the lakes. Stresses on the lakes include toxic and nutrient pollution, invasive species, habitat degradation, air pollution and runoff from farm chemicals on agricultural lands.
“The Lake Explorer II will serve EPA as an important tool in protecting the environmental health of the Great Lakes.,' says Paul Anastas.
The Lake Explorer II, 90 feet long, with a maximum draft of 7 feet, has sleeping quarters for 11 crew and scientists. EPA replaced the wastewater holding system and many structural features needed for its Great Lakes research. Scientists can now analyze water quality by processing plankton samples on board, allowing the ship to perform modern oceanographic research.
EPA operates one other research vessel in the Great Lakes. The Lake Guardian is the Agency’s largest Great Lakes research and monitoring vessel. The vessel conducts monitoring programs that sample the water, aquatic life, sediments, and air to assess the health of the Great Lakes. It is also used to support research activities conducted by federal, state and local agencies and universities. The Lake Guardian has been operating on the waters of the Great Lakes for the past 12 years.
These ships support the President’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and demonstrate EPA’s continuing concern and support for protection the Great Lakes. The studies conducted by EPA’s research vessels are helping to illustrate and define coastal zone and watershed management practices to promote steward ship and long-term sustainability of healthy waters across the Great Lakes region.