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Lake Saint Clair (North America)

Lake Saint Clair (North America)

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Lake St. Clair is a fresh-water lake named after Clare of Assisi
Clare of Assisi
Clare of Assisi , born Chiara Offreduccio, is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi...

 that lies between the Province of Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 and the State of Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, and its midline also forms the boundary between Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States of America. Lake St. Clair includes the Anchor Bay along the Metro Detroit
Metro Detroit
The Detroit metropolitan area, often referred to as Metro Detroit, is the metropolitan area located in Southeast Michigan centered on the city of Detroit which shares an international border with Windsor, Ontario. The Detroit metropolitan area is the second largest U.S. metropolitan area...

 coastline. This lake is situated about 6 miles (9.7 km) northeast of Detroit, Michigan
Detroit, Michigan
Detroit is the major city among the primary cultural, financial, and transportation centers in the Metro Detroit area, a region of 5.2 million people. As the seat of Wayne County, the city of Detroit is the largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan and serves as a major port on the Detroit River...

 and Windsor, Ontario
Windsor, Ontario
Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor...

. With about 430 square miles (1,113.7 km²) of water area, this lake is part of the Great Lakes System
Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes located in northeastern North America, on the Canada – United States border. Consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface, coming in second by volume...

. It links the Great Lakes system, but is rarely included in the listings of the Great Lakes. There are ongoing proposals for its official recognition as a Great Lake, which would affect its inclusion in scientific research projects, etc., designated as being for "The Great Lakes". Along with the St. Clair River
St. Clair River
The St. Clair River is a river in central North America which drains Lake Huron into Lake St Clair, forming part of the international boundary between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Michigan...

 and Detroit River
Detroit River
The Detroit River is a strait in the Great Lakes system. The name comes from the French Rivière du Détroit, which translates literally as "River of the Strait". The Detroit River has served an important role in the history of Detroit and is one of the busiest waterways in the world. The river...

, Lake St. Clair connects Lake Huron
Lake Huron
Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the larger portion of Lake Michigan-Huron. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States...

 (to its north) with Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

 (to its south).

Lake Saint Clair is about 26 miles (41.8 km) from north to south and about 24 miles (38.6 km) from east to west. This is a rather shallow lake for its size with an average depth of about 11 feet (3.4 m), and a maximum natural depth of 21.3 feet (6.5 m). However, it is 27 feet (8.2 m) deep in the navigation channel which has been dredged for lake freighter
Lake freighter
Lake freighters, or Lakers, are bulk carrier vessels that ply the Great Lakes. The best known was the , the most recent and largest major vessel to be wrecked on the Lakes. These vessels are traditionally called boats, although classified as ships. In the mid-20th century, 300 lakers worked the...

 passage. Lake Saint Clair is fed with fresh water flowing out of Lake Huron to its north via the St. Clair River, which has an extensive river delta
River delta
A delta is a landform that is formed at the mouth of a river where that river flows into an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, reservoir, flat arid area, or another river. Deltas are formed from the deposition of the sediment carried by the river as the flow leaves the mouth of the river...

, the largest one within the Great Lakes System. Also, the Thames River
Thames River (Ontario)
The Thames River is located in southwestern Ontario, Canada.The Thames flows west through southwestern Ontario, through the cities of Woodstock, London and Chatham to Lighthouse Cove on Lake St. Clair...

 and Sydenham River
Sydenham River
The Sydenham River is a river in Kent County, Lambton County and Middlesex County in southwestern Ontario, Canada, flowing southwest from its source west of London, Ontario and emptying into Lake Saint Clair. The length of the river is and it drains a watershed of approximately 2,700 square...

 flow into Lake Saint Clair from Southwestern Ontario
Southwestern Ontario
Southwestern Ontario is a subregion of Southern Ontario in the Canadian province of Ontario, centred on the city of London. It extends north to south from the Bruce Peninsula on Lake Huron to the Lake Erie shoreline, and east to south-west roughly from Guelph to Windsor. The region had a population...

, and the Clinton River
Clinton River
The Clinton River is a river in southeastern Michigan in the United States.The main branch of the river rises from wetlands in Springfield Township, Oakland County, northwest of Pontiac. A series of dams create a number of small lakes west of Pontiac, the last of which is Dawson's Millpond. The...

 flows into it from Michigan. The outflow from Lake Saint Clair flows from its southwestern end into the Detroit River, and thence into Lake Erie
Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake of the five Great Lakes in North America, and the tenth largest globally. It is the southernmost, shallowest, and smallest by volume of the Great Lakes and therefore also has the shortest average water residence time. It is bounded on the north by the...

.

The tarry time (i.e the time between entering and leaving) of the water in Lake St. Clair averages about seven days, but this can vary from as little as two to as many as thirty days, depending on the direction of the winds, the water circulation patterns, and the seasonal amount of water that is flowing out of Lake Huron. If the water flows through the navigation channel, which is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the time the water remains in the lake is about two days.

Naming




First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

/Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 used the lake as part of their extensive navigation of the Great Lakes. The Mississaugas
Mississaugas
The Mississaugas are a subtribe of the Anishinaabe-speaking First Nations people located in southern Ontario, Canada. They are closely related to the Ojibwa...

 called present-day Lake St. Clair Wahwehyahtahnoong. They established a village near the lake in the latter part of the 17th century. Early French mapmakers had identified the lake by a variety of French and Iroquois names, including Lac des Eaux de Mer [Seawater Lake]; Ganatchio (kettle, for its shape), in French Lac de la Chaudière. A variety of Native names were associated with sweetness, as the lake was freshwater as opposed to saltwater. These included Otsiketa (sugar or candy), Kandequio or Kandekio (possibly candy), Oiatinatchiketo (probably a form of Otsiketa), and Oiatinonchikebo. Similarly, the Iroquois called present-day Lake Huron
Lake Huron
Lake Huron is one of the five Great Lakes of North America. Hydrologically, it comprises the larger portion of Lake Michigan-Huron. It is bounded on the east by the Canadian province of Ontario and on the west by the state of Michigan in the United States...

, "The Grand Lake of the Sweet Sea" (fresh water as opposed to salt water.) This association was conveyed on French maps as Mer Douce (sweet sea) and Dutch maps as the Latin Mare Dulce.

On August 12, 1679, the French explorer René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle arrived with an expedition. He named the body of water Lac Sainte-Claire as the expedition discovered it on the feast day
Calendar of saints
The calendar of saints is a traditional Christian method of organizing a liturgical year by associating each day with one or more saints and referring to the feast day of said saint...

 of Saint Clare of Assisi
Clare of Assisi
Clare of Assisi , born Chiara Offreduccio, is an Italian saint and one of the first followers of Saint Francis of Assisi...

. The historian on the voyage, Louis Hennepin
Louis Hennepin
Father Louis Hennepin, O.F.M. baptized Antoine, was a Catholic priest and missionary of the Franciscan Recollect order and an explorer of the interior of North America....

, recorded that the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

 called the lake Otseketa.

As early as 1710, the English identified the lake on their maps as Saint Clare. By the Mitchell Map
Mitchell Map
The Mitchell Map is a map made by John Mitchell , which was reprinted several times during the second half of the 18th century. The Mitchell Map was used as a primary map source during the Treaty of Paris for defining the boundaries of the newly independent United States...

 in 1755, the spelling appeared as St. Clair, the form that became most widely used. Some scholars credit the name as honoring the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 General Arthur St. Clair
Arthur St. Clair
Arthur St. Clair was an American soldier and politician. Born in Scotland, he served in the British Army during the French and Indian War before settling in Pennsylvania, where he held local office...

, later Governor of the Northwest Territory
Northwest Territory
The Territory Northwest of the River Ohio, more commonly known as the Northwest Territory, was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from July 13, 1787, until March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio...

, but the name Lake St. Clair was in use with the current spelling long before St. Clair became a notable figure. Together the place name and general's name likely influenced settlers' naming a proliferation of nearby political jurisdictions: the Michigan county and township of St. Clair, as well as the cities of St. Clair
St. Clair, Michigan
St. Clair is a city in St. Clair County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,802 at the 2000 census. The city is located on the St. Clair River near the southeast corner of St. Clair Township.-Geography:...

 and St. Clair Shores
St. Clair Shores, Michigan
St. Clair Shores is a suburban city bordering Lake St. Clair in Macomb County of the U.S. state of Michigan. It forms a part of the Metro Detroit area, and is located approximately northeast of downtown Detroit. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 59,715. The current mayor is...

.

The origin of the name has also been confused with one Patrick Sinclair
Patrick Sinclair
Lieutenant-General Patrick Sinclair was a British Army officer and governor in North America. He is best remembered for overseeing the construction of Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island in what was to become the U.S. state of Michigan.-Biography:Sinclair was born in Lybster, Scotland, and enlisted...

, a British officer who purchased land on the St. Clair River
St. Clair River
The St. Clair River is a river in central North America which drains Lake Huron into Lake St Clair, forming part of the international boundary between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Michigan...

 at the outlet of the Pine River
Pine River (Michigan)
Pine River may refer to any of the following streams in the U.S. state of Michigan:# Pine River . The main branch forms with the confluence of the East and West Branches of the Pine River at in Alcona County...

. There, in 1764, he built Fort Sinclair, which was in use for nearly twenty years before being abandoned.

Unlike most smaller lakes in the region – but like the Great Lakes – Lake comes at the front of its proper name, rather than the end; this is reflective of its French origins.

Locale



The southwestern portion of the lake shore is lined by the wealthy eastern suburbs of Detroit and Windsor, Ontario
Windsor, Ontario
Windsor is the southernmost city in Canada and is located in Southwestern Ontario at the western end of the heavily populated Quebec City – Windsor Corridor. It is within Essex County, Ontario, although administratively separated from the county government. Separated by the Detroit River, Windsor...

 known as the Grosse Pointe
Grosse Pointe
Grosse Pointe refers to a coastal area in Metro Detroit, Michigan, United States that comprises five adjacent individual communities. From southwest to northeast, they are:*Grosse Pointe Park, city*Grosse Pointe, city*Grosse Pointe Farms, city...

 communities and Tecumseh, Russell Woods and Lakeshore respectively. Public access to the lake is highly restricted in these areas, limited to private marinas and parks that are open only to residents of the specific community. Further north, in Harrison Township
Harrison Township, Michigan
Harrison Charter Township is a charter township of Macomb County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the population was 24,461. The 2008 Census Bureau Estimate places the population at 26,004.- Places :...

, lies Metro Beach Metropark, a popular public beach.

Several yacht
Yacht
A yacht is a recreational boat or ship. The term originated from the Dutch Jacht meaning "hunt". It was originally defined as a light fast sailing vessel used by the Dutch navy to pursue pirates and other transgressors around and into the shallow waters of the Low Countries...

 clubs are located along this shore, including:
  • Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
    Grosse Pointe Yacht Club
    The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club is a private marina and sailing club founded in 1914 and located on the shore of Lake St. Clair in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan. It originated in 1914 through the efforts of a group of 25 sailing and iceboating enthusiasts....

     in Grosse Pointe Shores
    Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan
    Grosse Pointe Shores is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. With only land area, the city is the smallest of the five Grosse Pointe communities. The city, which is entirely residential, is the location of the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club on Lake Saint Clair. The city's population was 3,008 at the...

  • Crescent Sail Yacht Club in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan
    Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan
    Grosse Pointe Farms is a suburban city bordering Detroit located in Wayne County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It ranks as the 76th highest-income city in America. The population was 9,479 at the 2010 census. It is bordered by Grosse Pointe on the west, Detroit on the north, Grosse Pointe Woods...

  • Windsor Yacht club in Windsor


Many of North America's fresh water fish species can be found in the lake throughout the seasons. Species popular with anglers include bass
Bass (fish)
Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular gamefish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."-Types of basses:*The temperate...

, bluegill
Bluegill
The Bluegill is a species of freshwater fish sometimes referred to as bream, brim, or copper nose. It is a member of the sunfish family Centrarchidae of the order Perciformes.-Range and distribution:...

, bullhead
Bullhead
-Fishes:* Certain sculpins, including:** European bullhead, Cottus gobio** Siberian bullhead, Cottus poecilopus** Norway bullhead, Taurulus Liljeborgi* Catfish of the genus Ameiurus, including:** Black bullhead, Ameiurus melas...

, catfish
Catfish
Catfishes are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest and longest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the second longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores...

, muskellunge
Muskellunge
A muskellunge , also known as a muskelunge, muscallonge, milliganong, or maskinonge , is a large, relatively uncommon freshwater fish of North America. Muskellunge are the largest member of the pike family, Esocidae...

, Northern Pike
Northern Pike
The northern pike , is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox...

, perch
Perch
Perch is a common name for fish of the genus Perca, freshwater gamefish belonging to the family Percidae. The perch, of which there are three species in different geographical areas, lend their name to a large order of vertebrates: the Perciformes, from the Greek perke meaning spotted, and the...

, salmon
Salmon
Salmon is the common name for several species of fish in the family Salmonidae. Several other fish in the same family are called trout; the difference is often said to be that salmon migrate and trout are resident, but this distinction does not strictly hold true...

, smelt, steelhead, sturgeon
Sturgeon
Sturgeon is the common name used for some 26 species of fish in the family Acipenseridae, including the genera Acipenser, Huso, Scaphirhynchus and Pseudoscaphirhynchus. The term includes over 20 species commonly referred to as sturgeon and several closely related species that have distinct common...

, trout
Trout
Trout is the name for a number of species of freshwater and saltwater fish belonging to the Salmoninae subfamily of the family Salmonidae. Salmon belong to the same family as trout. Most salmon species spend almost all their lives in salt water...

, and walleye
Walleye
Walleye is a freshwater perciform fish native to most of Canada and to the northern United States. It is a North American close relative of the European pikeperch...

. Several invasive species also inhabit the lake, including zebra mussel
Zebra mussel
The zebra mussel, Dreissena polymorpha, is a small freshwater mussel. This species was originally native to the lakes of southeast Russia being first described in 1769 by a German zoologist Peter Simon Pallas in the Ural, Volga and Dnieper rivers. They are still found nearby, as Pontic and Caspian...

s and round gobies
Round goby
The round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, is an euryhaline bottom-dwelling goby of the family Gobiidae, native to central Eurasia including the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea.-Characteristics:...

.

See also

  • Clinton River (Michigan)
  • Detroit River
    Detroit River
    The Detroit River is a strait in the Great Lakes system. The name comes from the French Rivière du Détroit, which translates literally as "River of the Strait". The Detroit River has served an important role in the history of Detroit and is one of the busiest waterways in the world. The river...

  • Grosse Pointe
    Grosse Pointe
    Grosse Pointe refers to a coastal area in Metro Detroit, Michigan, United States that comprises five adjacent individual communities. From southwest to northeast, they are:*Grosse Pointe Park, city*Grosse Pointe, city*Grosse Pointe Farms, city...

  • Harsens Island
    Harsens Island
    Harsens Island is a wet marshy location at the mouth of the St. Clair River in the U.S. state of Michigan. Politically, the island is in Clay Township of St. Clair County.-History:...

  • St. Clair River
    St. Clair River
    The St. Clair River is a river in central North America which drains Lake Huron into Lake St Clair, forming part of the international boundary between the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Michigan...

  • Swamplands Act of 1850
    Swamplands Act of 1850
    A U.S. federal law, the Swamplands Act of 1850 essentially provided a mechanism for transferring title to federally owned swampland to private parties agreeing to drain the land and turn it to productive, presumably agricultural, use...

  • Tourism in metropolitan Detroit
    Tourism in metropolitan Detroit
    Tourism in metropolitan Detroit, Michigan is a significant factor for the region's culture and for its economy, comprising nine percent of the area's two million jobs. About 15.9 million people visit Metro Detroit annually, spending an estimated $4.8 billion. Detroit is one of the largest American...

  • Tecumseh, Ontario
    Tecumseh, Ontario
    Tecumseh is a town on Lake St. Clair east of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. It has a population of just over 24,000.Tecumseh enjoys long summers and mild winters...


External links