NOAA Breaks Ground for New Great Lakes Research Laboratory

December 17, 2007

Officials have broken ground for a new, larger NOAA Great Lakes research laboratory in Pittsfield Township, replacing the current Ann Arbor laboratory in mid to late 2008. The new  building will provide twice as much space as the current location as well as updated wet and dry laboratories, and new conference capabilities including a lecture hall that can seat 150.

The NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) focuses on issues such as invasive species, water levels, and health of the lakes that provide drinking water as well as recreational and commercial opportunities to residents of eight states and two Canadian provinces.

“The amount of water resources and the number of individuals affected by the Great Lakes is very much a part of NOAA’s mission and efforts,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “GLERL’s new building will allow it to conduct more research and provide more value to the Great Lakes region and the nation.”

With construction crews behind them, federal, state, and local officials conducted a ceremonial ground breaking for the new building located on South State Road in Pittsfield Township. Joining Lautenbacher were representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator Carl Levin and Congressman John Dingell, both of Michigan, as well as Richard Spinrad, NOAA assistant administrator for oceanic and atmospheric research.

“The people of Michigan are quite proud of the state's nickname—the Great Lakes State,” said Dingell, in a statement. “We love them, cherish them and want to do all we can to protect them. The wonderful, skilled researchers at NOAA play a huge role in improving our understanding of the Great Lakes. The Ann Arbor/Pittsfield Township area is a terrific home for this lab, and I know we are glad to provide the people who work there with a great community to live and work in. I am pleased to see this new facility open for NOAA and its partner organizations and I look forward to doing more work with those fine operations in the years ahead.”

“I’m pleased this new NOAA Great Lakes Research Laboratory will continue protecting and preserving our Great Lakes by striving to find solutions for issues such as pollution, invasive species, and decreasing water levels,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, in a statement released by her office. “The Great Lakes are a valuable and precious resource that drives our economy and contributes to the unique identity of our state.”

The new 40,225 square-feet facility will contain modern wet and dry laboratories, conference facilities, a library, marine instrumentation shop, and office space to accommodate about 120 federal and cooperative institute employees. GLERL will lease the facility for 20 years.

“NOAA’s research enterprise demands excellent science, and the new building will allow GLERL to provide a better environment for talented researchers to work,” said Spinrad. “The Great Lakes are a unique laboratory in themselves, providing many opportunities for climate, hydrology, fisheries, and ecosystem research.”

Office and/or laboratory space will also be provided to partner organizations, including Michigan Sea Grant Extension, The Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystem Research, the International Association for Great Lakes Research, the NOAA National Center of Excellence for Great Lakes and Human Health, NOAA National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species, and the Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Office.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.