LANSING – State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) today said that a partnership between Michigan Technological University’s (MTU) Great Lakes Research Center (GLRC) and Enbridge to monitor the Straits of Mackinac will mean additional protection for this waterway that is so important to Michigan’s economy. Enbridge’s Pipeline 5 runs underneath the Straits and carries more than 500,000 barrels of oil/petroleum products each day. That pipeline is more than 60 years old.

“GLRC’s expertise will provide real-time measurements of water conditions in the straits through deploying a monitoring buoy into the Upper Great Lakes Observing System,” said Dianda. “The Straits of Mackinac are important to shipping, fishing, ferries and tourism, so the more eyes we have looking at these waters the better. This additional buoy will also give Enbridge more information and data to help them keep Pipeline 5 operating safely.”

Dianda joined Gov. Rick Snyder and other officials on a visit to MTU to learn about the project. The buoy will be deployed this month and will measure water flow below the buoy, wind direction and speed, wind gust speed, water temperature, wave height and direction, solar radiation, barometric pressure, relative humidity and air temperature. It will also measure magnitude and direction of currents at one-meter intervals from near the surface to the bottom.

“We have some of the smartest people in the world right here at Michigan Tech and the GLRC working to protect our Great Lakes,” said Dianda. “This buoy is evidence of what we can do together with Enbridge to ensure that the pipeline operates safely and, should a problem occur, we respond quickly to mitigate environmental damage because the buoy will give us the data we need in real-time. We have to protect our Great Lakes because they are important not just to our economy, but to our way of life here in Michigan and this new partnership will help us do that.”