So, Should Michigan’s Lake St. Clair Be Considered a Great Lake?
It seems that there are a few things that Michiganders passionately argue about:
- The correct term for someone who lives in Michigan (obviously, the answer is 'Michigander')
- Where "up North" Michigan actually begins (see more here)
- Whether or not something should be considered a Great Lake
Okay, perhaps "passionately arguing" is a bit of an exaggeration. But, many have pointed out that Lake St. Clair should be considered a great lake.
Some Facts About Lake St. Clair
A recent post in the Facebook group 'A Michigan Thing' pointed out a few facts about Lake St. Clair including:
- The lake's surface area is about 430 square miles
- Even with that surface area, the lake is shallow with an average depth of 11 feet
- More than 110 species of fish inhabit Lake St. Clair
According to michigan.gov,
Nearly a third of the entire annual Great Lakes sport fish catch is pulled from the waters of the lake
That's a lot of fish for a lake that isn't "Great".
Lake St. Clair is also referred to as "the heart of the Great Lakes" which makes the fact that it's not a Great Lake a bit confusing.
So, Why Isn't Lake St. Clair a Great Lake?
Mostly, it has to do with size. Even though Lake St. Clair is connected to both Lake Huron and Lake Erie, it's much smaller in size and much more shallow as well. To put it in perspective, Lake Ontario is about 17 times larger than Lake St. Clair by surface area and about 80 times bigger by volume.
Even if it's not "official", many do refer to Lake St Clair as the sixth great lake or, in the past, the forgotten lake. Others have petitioned for the lake to be declared a Great Lake in the hopes that it would open the door for public funding for scientific and environmental research. That public funding could go also towards things like helping with lake pollution, for example.
Right now, there's a petition to bring awareness to Lake St. Clair's water pollution. The petition states that the lake is polluted with toxic chemicals E.Coli. That's bad news for those who use the lake for recreational sports and for those that rely on the lake for drinking water. See the full petition here.
It's hard to say whether or not Lake St. Clair will ever officially be a "Great Lake". Regardless, there's no doubt that people will continue to enjoy its beautiful waters (as long as that pollution doesn't pose a problem, that is).
By the way, there's currently a live camera pointed towards Lake St. Clair that you can enjoy at any time. Maybe you've never been and want to see what it looks like. Maybe you just need a peaceful distraction. Either way, check it out below:
If you love lakeside living, check out this stunning lakeside lighthouse for sale in Michigan: