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Great Lakes

Great Lakes from Space The Great Lakes - Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario - are known for their beauty and the wealth of resources within and around them. The combined lakes contain one-fifth of the world's surface fresh water, and they are often referred to as the "sweetwater seas". The Great Lakes could cover the entire continental United States with over 9.5 feet of water. They are large enough to influence the regional climate, cooling summers and tempering winters, as well as increasing amounts of rain and snow in the region. A world-renowned fishery, thousands of acres of forests, major mineral and metal reserves and rich agricultural land provide a balance of economic opportunity within the basin. In addition, the lakes and their surroundings provide many recreational opportunities and an appealing place to live and work.

• 2013 Michigan Water Conservation and Efficiency Program Review

• MI-Great Lakes Plan PDF icon

• Water Withdrawal Assessment Tool

• Shorelines of the Great Lakes

• Great Lakes Shoreline Management

• This page can also be accessed as www.mi.gov/deqgreatlakes

• Michigan State of the Great Lakes 2013 PDF icon

• Office of the Great Lakes


The Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between the U.S. and Canada established an Area of Concern program for the Great Lakes. A total of 43 areas on the Great Lakes where water quality has caused beneficial use impairments were initially identified. Fourteen Areas of Concern are within Michigan's jurisdiction. A Remedial Action Plan for restoring these areas is being prepared or is completed for each of these Areas of Concern.
Michigan's Coastal Management Program was developed under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act and approved in 1978. Since then, the Program has assisted organizations in protecting and enhancing their coastal areas, funded studies related to coastal management and helped to increase recreational opportunities in Michigan's Great Lakes coastal area.
Information on the Michigan Ballast Water Reporting Program, which requires the DEQ to determine whether ballast water management practices are being complied with by all vessels operating on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence waterway.
Laws and rules are set by the State to regulate dredging action within the Great Lakes. Resources are available regarding the testing of dredge sediment.
Great Lakes Basinwide Partners
Use of this fund has generated many wide ranging and diverse studies and reports. Some of which are available to review along with lists of current funding proposals and those that have already been funded.
Around 2000 ships have been lost within Michigan's coastal waters. Information regarding underwater preserves, laws and rules and other State agency interests are available.
Information regarding erosion, flooding and environmental areas along with their subsequent laws and rules.
Over 38,000 square miles of Great Lakes bottom lands, St. Clair Flats and submerged cultural resources are regulated by several State and Federal laws and rules.
Recovery of logs that were not captured and processed during Michigan's logging era but instead have sunk to the bottom of the Great Lakes requires a State permit.
Contains several data sources detailing the past, present, and future lake levels within the Great Lakes, the use of Great Lakes water, and resources detailing diversion of Great Lakes water.
Michigan's Water Strategy
information on Michigan's efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes. In addition, regional restoration efforts and legislative priorities to protect and enhance the quality of the Great Lakes region's environment and economy are also available.

Quick Links
 •  Contact Information for Great Lakes
 •  Aquatic Nuisance Control Inland Lakes and Streams
 •  Statutes, Agreements and Treaties
 •  Great Lakes Map
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