Ground water discharge to the Great Lakes around the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is primarily from recharge in riparian basins and proximal upland areas that are especially important to the northern half of the Lake Michigan shoreline. A steady-state finite-difference model was developed to simulate ground water flow in four regional aquifers in Michigan's Lower Peninsula: the Glaciofluvial, Saginaw, Parma-Bayport, and Marshall aquifers interlayered with the Till/"red beds," Saginaw, and Michigan confining units, respectively. The model domain was laterally bound by a continuous specified-head boundary, formed from lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Clair, and Erie, with the St. Clair and Detroit River connecting channels. The model was developed to quantify regional ground water flow in the aquifer systems using independently determined recharge estimates. According to the flow model, local stream stages and discharges account for 95% of the overall model water budget; only 5% enters the lakes directly from the ground water system. Direct ground water discharge to the Great Lakes' shorelines was calculated at 36 m3/sec, accounting for 5% of the overall model water budget. Lowland areas contribute far less ground water discharge to the Great Lakes than upland areas. The model indicates that Saginaw Bay receives only ???1.13 m3/sec ground water; the southern half of the Lake Michigan shoreline receives only ???2.83 m3/sec. In contrast, the northern half of the Lake Michigan shoreline receives more than 17 m3/sec from upland areas.
Additional publication details
Michigan basin regional ground water flow discharge to three Great Lakes