the Great Lakes Hydrography Dataset

The Great Lakes Hydrography Dataset (GLHD) is a set of nested stream networks, reach catchments, and watershed boundaries for the binational extent of the basin.

The GLHD includes spatially equivalent watershed boundaries and hydrology layers for the U.S. and Canadian portions of the Great Lakes Basin.  This current, consistent hydrology dataset is useful for addressing binational monitoring, assessment, and hydrologic modeling needs in the region. The ability to quantify and compare hydrologic and landscape-scale data for watersheds that stretch across multiple jurisdictions is of particular importance to be able to provide managers and researchers with a needed tool to identify and quantify changing environmental conditions and indicators across the U.S. and Canada.

The GLHD builds upon previous watershed boundary efforts for the region while incorporating unique features, such as islands and island watersheds and estuaries.  The GLHD was created from multiple up-to-date U.S. and Canadian data sources including the National Hydrography Dataset Plus, Version 2 (NHD+V2), the Ontario Integrated Hydrology Dataset (OIHD, 2012), the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), and the National Elevation Dataset (NED).


Great Lakes Hydrography Dataset Project Team

We conducted this work with the support of a multi-disciplinary, bi-national team of experts in hydrology, ecology, and GIS with members from state, provincial, and federal agencies, as well as, universities and NGOs listed below.  The GLHD product represents substantive contributions from each team member and a rigorous, iterative review and decision making process.

Team Members

Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Fish Division/Institute for Fisheries Research

University of Michigan
School of Natural Resources

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Land Information Ontario
Mapping and Information Resources Branch

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Mid-Continent Ecology Division

U.S. Geological Survey
New England Water Science Center
Great Lakes Science Center

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Lower Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office

The Nature Conservancy
Michigan Office

Michigan State University
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife

International Joint Commission
Great Lakes Office


Watersheds Download Packages

GLHD Version 1 - Great Lakes Basin

GLHD Version 1 – Lake Erie Basin

GLHD Version 1 – Lake Huron Basin

GLHD Version 1 – Lake Michigan Basin

GLHD Version 1 – Lake Ontario Basin

GLHD Version 1 – Lake Superior Basin

More information about the GLHD can be found in Forsyth et al., (2016).

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