Launch Season: The Buoys Are Back

May 22, 2024

Beautiful weather, clear skies, and the sounds of summer are on the horizon. It’s that special time of year—buoy season, and our favorite flotation devices are back in the water. With Cleveland Water Alliance in its fourth season of sensor and buoy deployment, 2024 will be the biggest year yet.

Thanks to recent funding, we’ve expanded our network coverage across Lake Erie and are deploying additional monitoring devices.  This allows us to increase the amount of data we’re collecting about water quality and conditions throughout the watershed while providing additional opportunities  and resources to innovators trialing their technology.

Now, with the arrival of launch-worthy weather and the buoy testing and calibration completed, CWA has officially launched the fleet of smart buoys into the lake. This launch was successful thanks to assistance from the students of Davis A&M High School, who are training for a maritime career in the Argonaut program. CWA is proud to partner with the next generation of this region’s water economy workforce. 

Collaborating with Argonaut’s Seafaring Students

Through collaboration with Argonaut, the Davis A&M High School/CMSD maritime and aerospace program, students receive real-world, hands-on training with the monitoring technology and software and its role in assessing the overall health and vibrancy of the lake. As part of their education and partnership with Cleveland Water Alliance, students provide vital assistance - supporting deployment and buoy maintenance during the season.

“From my experience with Argonaut, there are a lot of interactions with local students who traditionally would not have the opportunity to get exposed to these marine-based programs. They provide a tremendous amount of support for us, whether it's helping deploy the buoys or maintaining buoys.” —Dr. Jeff Pu, Water Innovation Postdoc Fellow at Cleveland Water Alliance.

As we enter our second year with Argonaut, CWA is exploring additional ways to expand our relationship to equip students with additional hands-on opportunities within the ever-evolving smart water space. 

SLEW Program Expansion

The Smart Lake Erie Watershed Initiative has grown exponentially in recent years, and we're excited about the latest evolution. This year, we added buoys and installed three new telecommunications gateways. This gives our intelligent network the critical coverage needed to collect real-time data on lake conditions. Through extended connectivity, and now with a total of 12 gateways, we have increased coverage across Lake Erie.


Kicking off the Season: Community Calibration Event

These gateways also allow our partners throughout the region to access our Smart Lake Erie Watershed network. Earlier this spring, Cleveland Water Alliance held a Community Calibration Event where water managers and researchers were invited to participate in free training to ensure their sensors were ready and able to access CWA's network. The kick-off event set the stage for our buoy launch season and supported the monitoring efforts of our partners and other water stewardship groups in the region.

During the training, participants learned to properly calibrate their sondes, which monitor and measure water quality and conditions, such as dissolved oxygen, pH, wave height, and temperature.

Accelerator Testbed Advancements

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This year, we have selected 17 state-of-the-art technologies from 14 distinguished companies across nine nations to be deployed in our testbeds. Our solutions cover a broad range of technologies from robust LoRaWAN gateways for challenging offshore environments to innovative pH sensors that eliminate the need for routine maintenance. Our lineup is unparalleled, featuring advanced monitoring of key environmental parameters, predictive modeling for climate and infrastructure risk assessment, cutting-edge tools for pathogen detection, algal bloom prediction, and deep-sea monitoring. We see a high demand for these game-changing solutions across our network of partners and look forward to witnessing the future of water technology unfold.

New Innovation Team Member

To meet the growing demand of CWA’s infrastructure and assets, we have added a new team member to assist with our innovation efforts. CWA is proud to welcome recent Cleveland State University graduate Natalie Van Scyoc. Natalie works directly with partners to coordinate the use of our testbeds and ensures solutions providers have the necessary resources to test their technology.

New Testbed Buoy Deployed

CWA is working hard behind the scenes to accelerate more innovations and to act as a soft launch for global companies entering the US market. In addition to our added staff, we have invested in a new buoy joining our fleet this year. This buoy is dedicated solely to deploying technology within our testbed and will allow us to accommodate even more innovations throughout the season. 

Tap in: Join us and stay connected!

Cleveland Water Alliance is thrilled about the opportunities ahead throughout this year’s field season. With the latest advancements and updates to our network and collaboration with our partners, we’re ready to make this year our biggest one yet.

Whether you spot one of our smart buoys out on Lake Erie or keep current with our real-time water data, there are so many exciting things ahead this season that you don’t want to miss.

The 2024 Water Accelerator Testbed will deploy:

  • 17 state-of-the-art technologies
  • Tech from 14 distinguished companies
  • Pilots from 9 different nations

Solutions include: 

  • solar powered LoRaWAN gateways
  • low-maintenance pH sensors
  • tools for pathogen detection
  • algal bloom prediction technology
  • deep-sea monitoring sensors

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