|GREAT LAKES' WATERSHED AND ISLANDS|
Michigan is called the Great Lake State because it borders on four and controls the area of much of the five large lakes that are collectively called the Great Lakes. The lake basins were eroded more than 10,000 years ago, and taken together, they contain the largest volume of freshwater in the world. The waterways connecting them form part of the largest inland water transportation route, the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, has a water surface area of 82,100 sq km and a maximum depth of 406 m. The surface of Lake Superior is large enough to contain the land area of the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, and New Jersey combined. Lake Huron is the second in size with 59,700 sq km; Lake Michigan, third, with 57,750 sq km; and Lake Erie, fourth, with 25,700 sq km. These lakes provide important water connections between these ports of Michigan, and between these ports and other ports of the United States, as well as of the world. The four lakes represent a freshwater resource for domestic and industry use for many communities along the coast and those that can be reached by pipelines. The commercial fishery resources of the lakes are considerable but have been decreasing in recent years. Fishing for coho and chinook salmon, first introduced into the lakes in 1966 is now a major sports activity on the lakes and in the adjoining rivers. Commercial fishing is handicapped by the fact that there is too high a concentration of undesirable chemicals in a number of fish species, particularly the salmon and lake trout.
The Great Lakes' watershed, also shown on GEO 333's title page, is composed of many sub-watersheds. On the north side, waters are clearer and colder, coming from the forests of the Canadian Shield. On the south, agriculture and industry provide sediment and other forms of pollution to the rivers that drain into the lakes.
Parts of the text on this page have been modified from
L.M. Sommers' book entitled, "Michigan: A
Selected Islands of the Great Lakes
Apostle Islands Superior National Lakeshore Park, remnants of pre-glacial hills.
Bass Islands Erie Perry's victory and International Peace Memorial.
Beaver Michigan Historic kingdom of James Strang -- ferry service.
Belle Isle Detroit Continent's most used and largest urban island park.
Bois Blanc Huron 13,000 acres; 25 deer per mi2, 40 inland lakes.
Drummond Huron Recreation, mining.
Fox Islands Michigan Deer herd management is a concern.
Green Bay Islands Michigan Border established by decision of US Supreme Court in the 1920's.
Grosse Isle Detroit Upper class residential area; industrial waste site.
Harsens St. Clair Seasonal homes, water fowl hunting.
Isle Royale Superior Largest island in lake, National Park, no motors, frequently mislocated.
Mackinac Huron Historic fur trade center and fort, State Park, ferry, no motor vehicles. Tourism.
Manitou Islands Michigan Part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park. Named for Indian word "Great Spirit".
Manitoulin Huron Largest island in the Great Lakes Basin, bridge and ferry service, seasonal recreation homes. On Niagara cuesta.
Michipicoten Superior Forested and largely uninhabited.
Neebish St. Mary's Small island in the river. USA territory.
St. Ignace Superior Aesthetic beauty.
St. Joseph St. Mary's Amerind settlement. Canadian territory.
Sleeping Giant Superior Spirit of Anishinabe.
Sugar St. Mary's Amerind settlement. USA territory.
Thirty Thousand Islands Georgian Bay Boat tours. Great vacation sites. Mostly limestone.
Walpole St. Clair Amerind settlement, outdoor recreation.
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