NOAA/GLERL Lake Michigan Field Station, Muskegon, Michigan
Vessel Operations and Research Center
In 1990 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL), part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, assumed ownership of the former Coast Guard base at Muskegon, Michigan on the south side of the channel between Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan. The site includes three buildings and research vessel dockage next to the main building. In 1993, one of the three buildings was renovated to include scientific laboratories, offices, and storage, and in 1994 a lead scientist and his support staff were permanently relocated to the site, which was officially named the Lake Michigan Field Station. A renovation project was completed in 2005 on the 100th anniversary of the building. Great care was taken to recreate the exterior architecture and maintain the historic details of its original design. While modern materials were utilized, this prominent building appears just as it did to the lumber schooners in the last days of sail. Much of the interior spaces, mechanical, and utilities were upgraded but maintain the color schemes and layout of its early days in the Life Saving Service.
The Lake Michigan Field Station serves as NOAA's base of operations for Great Lakes research and the home port for GLERL's research vessels, which operate throughout the Great Lakes.
The Lake Michigan Field Station now includes research vessel docking and several buildings that provide space for wet and dry laboratories, small vessel storage and repair, a meeting room, dormitories, the Vessel Operations Office, researcher office space, and equipment storage.
Presently, three full-time scientists, six ship crew, a marine superintendent, and administrative support staff are based at the field station. During the active field season, ranks swell to include numerous GLERL researchers, visiting scientists, and student fellows.
The Field Station also houses NOAA National Ocean Services Coast Survey's navigation response team. They are responsible for charting issues and hydrographic surveys on the Great Lakes.
Lake Michigan Research
The Lake Michigan Field Station is GLERL's primary platform for research in Lake Michigan. Current and recent GLERL research projects based in Lake Michigan include:
Real-Time Meteorological Observation Network
Up to date information on weather and sea conditions is necessary for researchers, fisherman, and recreational boaters. GLERL's Real-Time Meteorological Observation Network has eight stations throughout southern Lake Michigan, western Lake Erie, and Lake Huron. The backbone of the system includes the weather station and four webcams at the Lake Michigan Field Station.
The Lake Michigan Field Station has a strong commitment to supporting education and outreach. Each year the station hosts a variety of programs such as open houses, tours, cruises, classes, and workshops for diverse audiences including Congressional staff, reporters, teachers, students, and the general public.
The Lake Michigan Field Station serves as home port for all of GLERL's research vessels throughout the Great Lakes. NOAA is committed to innovative ways to improve operations and to stewardship of the environment that we research.
GLERL's large research vessels operate petroleum-free, making them the first ships in the U.S. fleet to operate petroleum-free. The ships use 100 percent soy biodiesel for engine fuel, canola-based motor oil, and rapeseed-based hydraulic oil for its deck crane, winches, transmission, and steering gear.
United Soybean Board – Biobased Solutions for
The change to non-petroleum products results in operating improvements as well as dramatic reductions in emissions. The biodegradable vegetable oils also offer an additional level of environmental protection in case of a spill or leak.
For more information about the Lake Michigan Field Station and the research activities centered there, please contact: