Gitche Gumee Right Here

This week, the Strib is running a series on Minnesota's waters. Beginning with the premise that the state's lakes and rivers are endangered but also central to the state's self-image, the series promises to be interesting. I realized a few months ago that Northfield is the furthest I've ever lived from one of the lakes, so I'm eager to learn more about them. Today's set of opening articles focused on Lake Superior, the shoreline of which I love probably more than any other place I've ever visited, and were complemented by an intuition-defying map of the Great Lakes basin. Though the lakes collectively hold a fifth of the world's fresh water, their watershed is only about three times larger than the surface area of the five lakes themselves - a tiny area. Lake Superior itself is about two-thirds as large as its own watershed. Only one state - Michigan - is entirely within the basin; no more than slivers of six others are in the basin.  All that means that the lakes can't cleanse or refill themselves as rapidly as bodies of water with larger watersheds.

email: christopher at tassava dot com