Lake Erie facts
- The Great Lakes contain about one-fifth of the surface fresh water on Earth and 95 percent of the surface fresh water in the United States. (Only 2.5 percent of all the water on Earth is fresh water, and two-thirds of that is locked up in glaciers and ice caps.)
- More than 11 million people get their drinking water from Lake Erie.
- Lake Erie is the southernmost, the shallowest (average depth just 62 feet), the warmest and most biologically productive of the Great Lakes. More fish are produced each year for human consumption from Lake Erie than from the other four Great Lakes combined.
- About 95 percent of Lake Erie's inflow comes from the upper Great Lakes via the Detroit River. Lake Erie empties into Lake Ontario via the Niagara River.
- The Lake Erie recreation industry in Ohio generates $8.5 billion per year and supports directly and indirectly 152,000 jobs.
- Since the 1870s, more than 3,200 acres of property along Ohio's Lake Erie shoreline has eroded away, according to estimates by the Ohio Geological Survey. In 1985, property loses from erosion totaled $9 million along the shore in Lake County alone.
- More than 80 percent of Ohio's 262-mile lakeshore has been developed. A quarter of lakefront homes (more than 1,100 residences) are within 25 feet of the bluff, and nearly half are within 50 feet.
- The southern shore of Lake Erie has a special microclimate with a long growing season ideal for growing grapes. The lake stays cold well into the spring and this helps hold back early buds until after the danger of frost. In the fall, the lake retains heat and extends the harvest into November. Wineries between Toledo and New York State take advantage of this growing season.
- Strong winds can create a "seiche," a piling up of water at one end of the lake. Short-term water level differences between the ends of the lake have been as much as 16 feet.
- Three nuclear power plants are sited on the shore of Lake EriePerry east of Cleveland, Davis-Besse west of Sandusky and Fermi south of Detroit. One of the largest fossil-fueled electric power plants in the world is on Lake Erie at Monroe, MI.
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