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National Monitoring Network for U.S. Coastal Waters and Tributaries

Lake Michigan Demonstration Area

Map showing Lake Michigan NMN Demo AreaThe Great Lakes – Michigan, Huron, Superior, Erie and Ontario – are a dominant part of the physical and cultural heritage of North America.  Shared with Canada and spanning more than 750 miles from east to west, these vast inland freshwater seas provide water for consumption, transportation, power, recreation and a host of other uses.  The Great Lakes are the largest surface freshwater system on the Earth.  They contain about 84 percent of North America's surface freshwater and about 21 percent of the world's supply.  Only the polar ice caps contain more freshwater.

Lake Michigan is the second largest of the Great Lakes.  It is the only Great Lake entirely within the United States.  The northern part is in the colder, less developed upper Great Lakes region.  It is sparsely populated, except for the Fox River Valley, which drains into Green Bay.  Green Bay has one of the most productive Great Lakes fisheries but receives the wastes from the world's largest concentration of pulp and paper mills.  The more temperate southern basin of Lake Michigan is among the most urbanized areas in the Great Lakes system.  It contains the Milwaukee and Chicago metropolitan areas, with over 11 million people dependent on the lake for drinking water. This region represents about one-fifth of the total population of the Great Lakes basin.

Characteristics of the Pilot Areas (PDF)