- Published: 20 August 2013
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Lake Erie is the source of much of the drinking water in urban and suburban areas of the watershed. The lake’s shallow water provides a good home for many different plants and animals. Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes in volume (119 cubic miles) and is exposed to the greatest effects from urbanization and agriculture. Measuring 241 miles across and 57 miles from north to south, the lake's surface is just less than 10,000 square miles, with 871 miles of shoreline. The average depth of Lake Erie is only about 62 feet (210 feet, maximum). It therefore warms rapidly in the spring and summer, and frequently freezes over in winter. Because of its fertile soils, the basin is intensively farmed and is the most densely populated of the five Great Lakes basins.
Keeping Lake Erie "Great"
Lake Erie is impacted by how we decide to balance natural areas and development. In Ohio, the planning and regulations governing these decisions are made at the local level. Local and State agencies in Ohio have developed managment plans focused on our unique and valuable relationship with Lake Erie:
- Lake County Ohio coastal management plans
- Lake Erie Protection & Restoration Plan 2013
- Lake Erie Lakewide Management Plans
- Great Lakes Compact
Our individual actions also affect the health of the lake we rely on for our drinking water and for swimming, fishing and boating. To learn about Lake Erie’s influence on you and your influence on the lake, check out Lake Erie Literacy.
In an on-going effort to assist property owners along Ohio’s Lake Erie coast by providing free technical assistance, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources is developing the Lake Erie Shore Erosion Management Plan (LESEMP). Click here for more information.