IN 1841, Congress created the Lake Survey within the U.S. Army Topographical Engineers, which later became part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Survey, based in Detroit, Mich., was charged with conducting a hydrographical survey of the Northern and Northwestern Lakes and preparing and publishing nautical charts and other navigation aids. The Lake Survey published its first charts in 1852. In 1882, after producing 76 charts, it had completed its Congressional mandate.
This pioneering effort eventually grew into a comprehensive program of scientific investigations and monitoring of the Great Lakes conducted through NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Ann Arbor, Mich.