The Great Lakes

Agency: Environmental Quality

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.