|The Great Lakes as seen from space.|
The Great Lakes Basin — Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario and their watersheds — covers an area of 750,000-square kilometres. That’s an area larger than New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island combined.
The Great Lakes Basin is one of the most biologically diverse regions in Canada. The lakes support thousands of wetlands, and a variety of landscapes, plants, fish and wildlife. Here you will find over 150 native species of fish and more than 50 native plant communities. Some of these species are found nowhere else in the world.
The Great Lakes are rich in natural resources and very much full of life. Yet, they are vulnerable to human pressure and in need of protection.
The Ministry of Natural Resources ensures that the waters, plants, fish and wildlife of Ontario’s portion of the Great Lakes Basin are protected and are available for future generations to use and enjoy.
- The Great Lakes form the largest system of freshwater lakes in the world. Ontario’s economy and our way of life are both closely tied to their resources. Learn more about the importance of the Great Lakes to Ontario.
- Ontario’s Great Lakes are as unique as your thumbprint. Each of our Great Lakes — Superior, Huron, Erie and Ontario — has its own special character and faces its own distinct challenges. Read about each lake’s special features and challenges.
- The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin contains 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water. It holds 95 per cent of North America’s fresh surface water. With the demand for fresh water increasing, it’s important to protect our Great Lakes Basin water supply. Find out more about our Great Lakes water supply and efforts to protect it. The Great Lakes Ecosystem is one of the most biologically rich regions in Canada. Many local, provincial and international partners work together to protect and restore the richness of life that depends on the Great Lakes’ waters. Learn about efforts to protect biodiversity through stewardship in and around the Great Lakes.
- The Great Lakes are home to more than 150 species of fish. Fishing activities on the Great Lakes contribute millions of dollars each year to the region’s economy. Find out more about how we manage fisheries on the Great Lakes. The health of fish populations is also monitored.
- Biologists and scientists keep a close watch on the health of the many ecosystems that depend on the Great Lakes. The information they gather helps managers determine how best to protect, restore or sustain the fish, wildlife and plants of these ecosystems. Read about how we monitor, research and report on the health of Great Lakes ecosystems.
- You may think the Great Lakes are only about water and fish. But they aren’t. They are sources of renewable and non-renewable energy – hydroelectric, wind, crude oil and natural gas. Learn more about sources of energy in the Great Lakes region.
- The American eel in the Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River region needs protection and is being considered for designation under both the Canadian Species at Risk Act and the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Find out more about this unusual Great Lakes fish species.
Banner Image: Doug Hamilton