Great Lakes Facts and Information

Looking for more information about the Great Lakes? Here you can find information by topic:

Within this section, you can also access:

  • Quickfacts - Useful and interesting facts about the Great Lakes.
  • Great Lakes Publications and Archived Publications- Documents and reports about the Great Lakes available from Environment Canada (EC).
  • Data and Science - Links to scientific studies, data sets, Geographic Information Systems and other technical information about the Great Lakes ecosystem.
  • Maps - Maps of the Great Lakes basin produced by EC.


  • Comprehensive Approach to Clean Water - The Government of Canada's approach to ensure clean water for all Canadians, and to preserve and protect the Great Lakes and other major watersheds for future generations.
  • Water Use and Supply Project - The Water Use and Supply Project was initiated to support improved management of surface and groundwater resources in the Canadian sub-watersheds of the Great Lakes, Ottawa River, and upper St. Lawrence River within Ontario.
  • The St. Lawrence Centre - The St. Lawrence Centre is the only federal research and development centre devoted entirely to the river ecosystem. Specialists are involved in a multitude of studies and research programs aimed at better understanding how the ecosystems of the St. Lawrence River function and at keeping knowledge up to date.
  • Water Modelling - Information on how the use of computers and numerical modelling can be used to better understand and assess water resources in Canada, including the Great Lakes.
  • National Water Research Institute - EC's National Water Research Institute contributes to research and science in the Great Lakes region.
  • RésEau - Waternet - RésEau provides easy access to water information from many jurisdictions across Canada.
  • US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Great Lakes National Program Office - Information about Great Lakes programs coordinated by the USEPA's Great Lakes National Program Office.
  • International Joint Commission (IJC) - The IJC prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada.
  • Great Lakes Commission - A binational agency that promotes the orderly, integrated and comprehensive development, use and conservation of the water and related natural resources of the Great Lakes basin and St. Lawrence River.
  • Wise Water Use - Information about sustaining our water supply, sustaining our water infrastructure and what you can do to conserve water at home, at work and in your community.

Climate Change

  • Climate Change - Information on climate change and how it may affect various regions of Canada, including the Great Lakes region.
  • Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation - Natural Resources Canada’s Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation Division (CCIAD) facilitates the generation and sharing of knowledge, tools and mechanisms to integrate adaptation into policy, plans and projects. CCIAD works in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, including technical experts and practitioners, across all levels of government and industry.

Pollution and Sustainability

  • Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators - Through the Canadian Environmental Sustainability Indicators initiative, the federal government reports on environmental indicators that track three issues of key concern to Canadians: air quality, water quality, greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Canada’s Chemicals Management Plan - Jointly managed by EC and Health Canada, The Government of Canada's Chemicals Management Plan protects human health and the environment by assessing chemicals used in Canada.
  • Niagara River Toxics Management Plan - Reduction of toxic loadings to the Niagara River from hazardous waste sites.
  • Great Lakes Environmental Sensitivity Atlases - Publications that have been developed to aid agencies and companies prepare and respond to spills of oil and other hazardous materials in the Great Lakes.
  • Statistics by Subject : Environment - Statistics Canada information on Canada’s environment and its relationship with human activity. Includes issues related to natural resources (e.g., energy and minerals, forests, water, land), air and climate, pollution, wastes and measures to protect the environment.

Biodiversity and Alien Invasive Species

  • Non-native Species in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Basin - Find information here on non-native species in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Basin.
  • Invasive Alien Species in Canada - Information about Invasive Alien Species, as well as the Invasive Alien Species Strategy for Canada. This Strategy will minimize the risk of invasive alien species to the environment, economy, and society and protect environmental values such as biodiversity and sustainability.
  • The Canadian Ballast Water Program - Information about Transport Canada's Canadian Ballast Water Program, including definitions, statistics and environmental impacts.
  • Ecological Monitoring - Ecological monitoring generates the information required to assess and respond to ecosystem changes. Monitoring can assist with the identification of new environmental concerns, the prioritization of issues, and the evaluation of trends over time.
  • Natural Heritage Information Centre - Information on rare, threatened and endangered species and spaces in Ontario.

Nature and Wildlife

  • EC’s Ecosystem Initiatives - Over the years, EC’s Ecosystem Initiatives have responded to the unique problems of targeted areas and communities by considering environmental, economic, and social concerns.
  • Wetlands of Ontario - Not land or water, but a fluid combination of both, wetlands are among the most productive habitats on Earth.
  • Great Lakes Wetlands Conservation Action Plan - The Great Lakes Wetlands Conservation Action Plan brings together a number of government and non-governmental partners to secure and rehabilitate the remaining wetlands in the Great Lakes basin.
  • Canada Wildlife Act - Provides the authority for the establishment of refuges known as National Wildlife Areas in which migratory birds, other wildlife, and habitat could receive protection.
  • EC - Nature - This section contains information on the natural environment and the EC's efforts to preserve, protect and restore it.
  • Great Lakes Marsh Monitoring Program - The Marsh Monitoring Program functions to provide long-term monitoring of marsh-dependent bird and anuran (frog and toad) species in marsh habitats throughout the Great Lakes basin.

Fish and Fisheries Research

National Parks and Marine Conservation Areas

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