- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 3, 2015

PORT SHELDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - A high-tech buoy credited with supplying critical information about waves and weather on Lake Michigan might not return to the western Michigan coast next year unless money is found.

LimnoTech, an Ann Arbor company that owns the buoy, said a federal grant is running out and no one has stepped forward.

“The buoy is the ground truth of what is occurring on the lake,” said Bob Dukesherer, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids. “Without these buoys, we are making marine warning decisions with land-based observations or from a single buoy located miles away.”

The weather service last summer issued 20 dangerous swimming warnings for Ottawa County using data from the buoy, The Grand Rapids Press reported (https://bit.ly/1kpjGf0 ).

“The winds change, the temperatures change, the currents change. There’s so much going on you don’t know about unless you can monitor that,” said Walter Clawson, a fisherman.

The buoy has spent four summers in Lake Michigan off Port Sheldon Township, feeding scientific information to researchers, the U.S. Coast Guard and others.

“No, we’re not interested in funding it,” said Al Vanderberg, Ottawa County administrator.

Port Sheldon Township Supervisor Howard Baumann Jr. hopes a partnership is possible, although officials in other lakeshore communities said they were unaware of the buoy.

“We can look out our office window and tell you what the waves are like. We don’t need a buoy,” said Joyce Rhodes, supervisor at Grand Haven State Park.

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press, https://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids

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