Great Lakes Basin

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A map of the Great Lakes Basin showing the five sub-basins within. Left to right they are: Superior (magenta); Michigan (cyan); Huron (pale green); Erie (yellow); Ontario (light coral).

The Great Lakes Basin consists of the Great Lakes and the surrounding lands of the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the United States, and the province of Ontario in Canada, whose direct surface runoff and watersheds form a large drainage basin that feeds into the lakes. It is generally considered to also include a small area around and beyond Wolfe Island, Ontario, at the east end of Lake Ontario, which does not directly drain into the Great lakes, but into the Saint Lawrence River.

The Basin is at the center of the Great Lakes region.


The basin is home to 33 million people;[1] the basin hosts eight of Canada's 20 largest cities, including Toronto, Hamilton, London, St. Catharines, Niagara, Oshawa, Windsor, and Barrie. The United States cities of Duluth, Milwaukee, Chicago, Gary, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Erie, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse among others are located on shores of the Great Lakes.


Each individual lake forms a sub-basin, such as the Lake Erie Basin, and each sub-basin consists of multiple watersheds, such as Pennsylvania's Lake Erie Watershed; the overall Great Lakes Basin is monitored by the binational Great Lakes Commission.

St. Lawrence Basin[edit]

Quebec, a portion of whose lands drain into the St. Lawrence Basin, is a signatory to the Great Lakes Charter of 1985, the 2001 Charter Annex, and the Agreements of 2005. [2] While not a part of the Great Lakes Basin, Quebec's position along the Saint Lawrence Seaway makes it a partner in water resource management with Ontario and the eight US states mentioned above.

Nuclear power plants[edit]

There are many nuclear power plants in the Great Lakes Basin. Twenty power plants on the Canadian side;[3] the radioactive waste they produce and release[4] like radioactive tritium[5] have not been collectively combined to ascertain the total impact on the area.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-11-01. Retrieved 2015-10-29. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Great Lakes Basin Sustainable Water Resources Agreement, Government of Quebec
  3. ^ "CANDU reactors in operation in Canada"
  4. ^ "Pickering nuclear plant suffers minor water leak" The National Post.
  5. ^ "Reactor's neighbours alarmed over radioactive toxins in river" CBC news.

External links[edit]