About the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Basin

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin is located within the U.S. States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as well as the Canadian Provinces of Ontario and Quebec.

The Basin contains more than 20% of the world's supply of surface fresh water and about 84% of North America's surface fresh water.  As such, the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Basin is the primary water source for over 40 million people--roughly 10% of the U.S. population and more than 30% of the Canadian population.

The Basin also drives the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin economy.  For more than a century, the region has been a center for manufacturing, international shipping, and innovative research and development, powering what is now a $6 trillion economy.  If the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence States and Provinces were their own economy, it would be the third largest economy in the world.

The region alone accounts for more than 50% of all U.S./Canadian bilateral border trade and sees over 200 million tons of cargo shipped annually, and the region is home to over 51 million jobs.

Containing more than 20% of the world's surface water, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Basin is the single largest watershed in the world, ranging from Trois-Rivières, Québec to the western point of Lake Superior.  The Basin contains over 94,000 square miles of surface water, and is the world's largest inland water system, extending over 3800 miles.

  Lake Erie Lake Huron Lake Michigan Lake Ontario Lake Superior
Surface area 9,910 sq mi (25,700 km2) 23,000 sq mi (60,000 km2) 22,300 sq mi (58,000 km2) 7,340 sq mi (19,000 km2) 31,700 sq mi (82,000 km2)
Water volume 116 cu mi (480 km3) 850 cu mi (3,500 km3) 1,180 cu mi (4,900 km3) 393 cu mi (1,640 km3) 2,900 cu mi (12,000 km3)
Elevation 571 ft (174 m) 577 ft (176 m) 577 ft (176 m) 246 ft (75 m) 600.0 ft (182.9 m)
Average depth 62 ft (19 m) 195 ft (59 m) 279 ft (85 m) 283 ft (86 m) 483 ft (147 m)
Maximum depth 210 ft (64 m) 748 ft (228 m) 925 ft (282 m) 804 ft (245 m) 1,333 ft (406 m)