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Great Lakes Facts And Figures

 

Political and Population Characteristics

In the eight-state Great Lakes region, 453 state legislators (321 representatives, 132 senators) represent districts that lie completely or partially within the Great Lakes basin.

Fifty-five members of the U.S. House of Representatives represent districts that lie at least partially within the Great Lakes basin.

The Great Lakes basin is home to 25 million people in the United States and 8.5 million people in Canada. This means that about 10 percent of the U.S. population and 31 percent of the Canadian population live in the Great Lakes basin. (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

Economic Impact

Nearly 25 percent of Canadian agricultural production and 7 percent of American farm production are located in the Great Lakes basin. (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).

About 65 million pounds of fish per year are harvested from the lakes, contributing more than $1 billion to the Great Lakes economy. (The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

The Great Lakes support a $4 billion sports fishery industry. (The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

More than 200 million tons of cargo — mainly iron ore, coal and grain — are shipped every year through the Great Lakes’ 1,270-mile route. (The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

Physical Characteristics

The largest system of fresh surface water on Earth, the Great Lakes contain roughly 21 percent of the world supply and 84 percent of North America’s supply. Only the polar ice caps contain more fresh water. (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

The total area of the Great Lakes is more than 94,000 square miles (larger than the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire combined, or about 23 percent of the province of Ontario). The Great Lakes watershed (including rivers and streams that drain into the lakes) is about 295,000 square miles. (Source: Great Lakes Information Network)

The Great Lakes shoreline is equal to almost 44 percent of the circumference of the earth, and Michigan's Great Lakes coast totals 3,288 miles, more coastline than any state but Alaska. (Source: Great Lakes Information Network)

Inside the Ecosystem

The Laurentian Great Lakes were formed nearly 20,000 years ago when the earth's climate warmed and the last glacial continental ice sheet retreated. Approximately 3,500-4,000 years ago, the Great Lakes attained their modern levels and area. (The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

More than 3,500 species of plants and animals inhabit the Great Lakes basin. (The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

Since the 1800s, more than 140 exotic aquatic organisms of all types (including plants, animals, algae and mollusks) have become established in the Great Lakes. (Source: Great Lakes Information Network)

The Great Lakes provide drinking water to 40 million people as well as 56 billion gallons of water per day for municipal, agricultural and industrial use. (The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory)

 

  
 

Great Lakes Legislative Caucus-CSG Midwest
701 E. 22nd Street, Suite 110 - Lombard, IL  60148-5095 | Phone: 630.925.1922

Contacts: Tim Anderson ~ Lisa Janairo ~ Mike McCabe

 

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