The condition of Lake Erie continues to haunt folks who keep track of the health of the Great Lakes. As the shallowest of the five lakes, it is often considered the bellwether for problems that eventually affect the rest.
Decades ago, the lake was famously declared dead, as pollution took a terrible toll on water quality and the health of its fish. Now, with most direct discharges cleaned up, the problems facing the lake are more difficult to diagnose. But they are also more visible — especially the horrendous pileups of algae.
Michigan has only 54 miles of shoreline along Lake Erie, and it’s often the neglected lake when residents speak about the Great Lakes access that they cherish. But the Lake Erie watershed begins at Port Huron, where Lake Huron comes to an end. That adds 234 miles of shoreline along the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River to the total Michigan miles in this bellwether basin.