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Commissioning the Great Lakes’ First High-Frequency Radar

August 12, 2022
1-2 PM, Light refreshments served 12-1 PM
Bridgeview Park | W69 Boulevard Dr, St Ignace, MI 49781
Hosted by: Michigan Technological University and Great Lakes Observing System

Please join us in the Straits of Mackinac as we commission the Great Lakes’ first high-frequency radar system—a cutting-edge, current-sensing technology that will help make this sensitive waterway safer.

Attire will be outdoor business casual.

Watch the livestream.

A test installation of a high-frequency radar unit in the Straits of Mackinac_PC Nathan Shaiyan, Michigan Technological University

The Safety in the Straits event, hosted by Michigan Technological University Great Lakes Research Center and the Great Lakes Observing System—the regional node of NOAA’s Integrated Ocean Observing System program—will bring together elected officials, state agencies, community members, businesses, and researchers to commission a high-frequency radar (HFR) system installed in the Straits of Mackinac to the west of the Mackinac Bridge.

Home to the Mackinac Bridge, the Straits share space with other transportation and energy infrastructure, heavy recreational boat traffic, and busy commercial shipping lanes, all in one of the most unpredictable waterways of the Great Lakes.

Researchers, mariners, and natural resource managers have long needed a better way to understand the water currents in real time—to assist with navigation, research, search and rescue, and real-time intelligence in the event of a pipeline spill.

To help put actionable, high-value water data into people’s hands, Michigan Tech, funded by the Great Lakes Observing System and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), undertook the HFR’s multiyear installation.

Now, in 2022, the installation is complete. As the ice melted this spring, data began to flow to the public through web apps, realizing a vision of making the Straits safer for generations to come.


Attire will be outdoor business casual.

12-1 p.m. Guests Arrive, Light Refreshments Available

1-2 p.m. Program of Events

[Final speaker lineup is still pending]

Welcome | Kelli Paige, Great Lakes Observing System

State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, 37th State Senate District (invited)

Staff of U.S. Rep. Jack Bergman, 1st Congressional District

Staff of U.S. Sen. Gary Peters

Brian Zelenke, Integrated Ocean Observing System

Deborah Lee, NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory

President Richard J. Koubek, Michigan Technological University

Lorelle Meadows, Michigan Technological University

Tricia Kinley, Mackinac Bridge Authority

Demo | Tim Havens, Great Lakes Research Center

Closing | Kelli Paige, Great Lakes Observing System

2-3 p.m. Photos and Networking 


To register for the event, please email Katie Rousseau,

Photos by Nathan Shaiyan, Lorelle Meadows, Michigan Technological University.

Hosted by


HFR Technology
HFR is an incredibly useful technology using radio waves to measure water surface currents in near real time. And now, every hour, residents, boaters, shipping vessel captains, Coast Guard personnel, first responders, and others can see a highly accurate picture of conditions on this unpredictable and sensitive waterway.

Watch the Livestream on Aug. 12