Great Lakes

Great Lakes Facts and Figures

6 quadrillion gallons of fresh water; one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water (only the polar ice caps and Lake Baikal in Siberia contain more); 95 percent of the U.S. supply; 84 percent of the surface water supply in North America. Spread evenly across the continental U.S., the Great Lakes would submerge the country under about 9.5 feet of water.

Total Area
More than 94,000 square miles/244,000 square kilometers of water (larger than the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire combined, or about 23 percent of the province of Ontario). About 295,000 square miles/767,000 square kilometers in the watershed (the area where all the rivers and streams drain into the lakes).

Total Coastline
The United States and Canada — 10,900 mi/17,549 km (including connecting channels, mainland, and islands). The Great Lakes shoreline is equal to almost 44 percent of the circumference of the earth, and Michigan’s Great Lakes coast totals 3,288 mi/5,294 km, more coastline than any state but Alaska.

For additional information on the Great Lakes and each lake- the Great Lakes Atlas

For information click on the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative(GLRI) in Ohio.

Great Lakes water only gets replenished by 1% per year by rain, snow, etc.  Hence, the Great Lakes COMPACT was agreed to with the goal of keeping Great Lakes water in the Great Lakes.  Click on Great Lakes Compact for more information.

Asian Carp getting into the Great Lakes is a key concern.

For information on the Great Lakes Fishery