The international Great Lakes Basin is a unique and biologically diverse region containing the largest surface freshwater system in the world, with sport and commercial fisheries valued at over $7 billion annually. The fishery and aquatic resources of the Great Lakes have suffered detrimental effects of invasive species, loss of biodiversity, poor water quality, contaminants, loss or degradation of coastal wetlands, land use changes, and other factors.
The Basin includes all of Michigan; portions of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota in the U.S. and Ontario and Quebec in Canada. It covers 295,710 square miles, including 94,250 square miles of surface water and 201,460 square miles of land in the U.S. and Canada. The Great Lakes and connecting waters have over 11,000 miles of coastline.