The Lake Erie Drainage Basin

The Lake Erie ecosystem is unique. It is the shallowest and the most biologically diverse of all the Great Lakes. The Lake Erie ecosystem naturally functions in three distinct basins. Its shoreline includes Point Pelee, the most southerly point in Canada, as well as portions of Ontario and the states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The Lake Erie watershed is home to over 11 million people, supports one of the largest freshwater fisheries in the world, and provides many recreational and tourism opportunities due to the presence of numerous beaches and extensive wetland complexes.

Map: The Lake Erie Drainage Basin

This map of the Lake Erie drainage basin shows a small inset showing the position of Lake Erie relative to the other Great Lakes – it is the second-most eastern lake. The map, whose scale is in hundreds of kilometres and is oriented in the north direction, shows the Lake Erie drainage basin and all provinces, states, cities, Areas of Concern (AOC), and tributaries within it.

The Canadian province shown is Ontario. United States (US) states shown are Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. The international border between Canada and the US cuts through the middles of Lake St. Clair (listed) and Lake Erie, and along the borders between Ontario and the US states of Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Canadian cities shown (all in Ontario): Guelph, Kitchener, London, Chatham-Kent, Sarnia, and Windsor. US cities shown: Port Huron (MI), Clinton River (MI), Pontiac (MI), Detroit (MI), Ann Arbor (MI), Maumee River (OH), Toledo (OH), Findlay (OH), Lima (OH), Fort Wayne (IN), Cleveland (OH), Akron (OH), Ashtabula (OH), Erie (PA), and Buffalo (NY).

Delisted Canadian AOC shown, which is an AOC remediated and removed from the list: Wheatley Harbour. Delisted US AOC: Presque Isle Bay. US AOCs: Clinton River, Rouge River, River Raisin, Toledo, Black River, Cuyahoga River, Ashtabula River, and Buffalo River. Binational AOC shown, which is an AOC that is shared by Canada and the US: Detroit River.

Also shown on the map are tributaries. A tributary is a river or stream flowing into a larger river or lake. Five unnamed tributaries to Lake Erie are shown. Three are along the south-west coast in Ohio. The remaining 2 reside along the north coast in Ontario. An extra tributary flows through Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio to the west of the lake near the US city of Fort Wayne in Indiana.

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