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Lake Profile

St. Clair

General Information

Description Lake St. Clair is part of Michigan's Chain O' Lakes system.
Country Canada
United States of America
Latitude 42° 22' 0" (42.3667)
Longitude -82° 22' 0" (-82.3667)
State Michigan
River Basin Saint Lawrence

Physical Characteristics

Surface Area 1,270.00 km2
Depth Maximum depth: 9.0 m
Origin Glacial
Type Fresh


Economic Value Lake St. Clair is the source of nearly 60 percent of the drinking water consumed by southeastern Michigan residents.
Major Cities Ellsworth

Watershed Management

Description Congress has authorized the development of a comprehensive management plan for Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River. The plan will evaluate environmental stresses and develop recommendations to restore and protect the two bodies of water. It is being developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Great Lakes Commission and a binational coalition of U.S. and Canadian agencies, citizens groups and other parties. To be finalized in 2003, the plan will integrate existing efforts into a cohesive, ecosystem-based framework.

Efforts also are underway to establish a binational management forum for Lake St. Clair to coordinate U.S. and Canadian activities and oversee implementation of the management plan. U.S. EPA, Environment Canada, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality have formally incorporated the lake under the Four Agency Letter of Commitment, a 1998 agreement on roles and responsibilities for implementing remedial action plans for the three upper Great Lakes binational Areas of Concern (Detroit, St. Clair and St. Marys rivers). With support from U.S. EPA, the Great Lakes Commission is developing recommendations on how to best structure such a binational management forum.

Watershed Action Plan In development
Other Issues Nutrient pollution
Health Advisories - Swimming
Invasive Species
Polluted runoff
Specific Contaminants POPs/PCPs/Endocrine Disrupters

Biodiversity Conservation

Description Lake St. Clair's coastal wetlands are critical to the lake’s water quality and provide habitat for a wide array of waterfowl and other wildlife. The wetlands are under particular stress from development, agricultural and urban runoff and leaking septic systems.
Species of Concern



A Comprehensive Management Plan for Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River
ILEC Database
ILEC Database
Ramsar profile on Canada
St. Clair River Area of Concern
The St. Clair Coastal Habitat Restoration & Conservation Project


4/28/2004 - Polluted lakes turning turtles into turtlettes
4/2/2004 - Conservationists to track Essex region's at-risk fish
3/13/2004 - Cox shouldn't ignore issue of tainted ship water
9/30/2003 - Three county lake monitoring plan developed for Lake St. Clair
7/10/2003 - Fewer mollusks in Lake St. Clair
7/9/2003 - Zebra mussels, not pollution, decrease helpful zooplankton: new study
3/9/2003 - Anti-pollution funding, recognition of ecosystem & drinking water role for Lake St. Clair
2/1/2003 - Saving Canada's endangered mussels
10/19/2002 - Alien species named lakes' top enemy
9/27/2002 - Sign of the times greets EPA chief
9/3/2002 - New restoration initiative targets Lake St. Clair
4/1/2002 - EPA works to unravel mystery of Lake St. Clair's PCBs
2/26/2002 - Lake St. Clair cleanup proposal in works

Additional Data Sources

International Lake Environment Committee, the United Nations Environment Program and Environment Agency, Government of Japan. 1997. World Lakes Database.

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