The Great Lakes navigation system is a continuous 27-foot deep draft waterway that extends from the western end of Lake Superior at Duluth, MN to the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the Atlantic Ocean; a distance of over 2,400 miles.
This bi-national resource is composed of the five Great Lakes, the connecting channels of the Great Lakes, the St Lawrence River and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The U.S. portion of the system includes 140 harbors (60 commercial; 80 recreational), two operational locks, 104 miles of breakwaters and jetties, and over 600 miles of maintained navigation channels. In addition, the GLNS is connected to several other shallow draft waterways (Illinois Waterway, New York State Barge Canal, etc.) to form an important waterborne transportation network, reaching deep into the continent.
The US Army Corps of Engineers helps to maintain Great Lakes navigation through dredging of channels and harbors, and construction and maintenance of coastal infrastructure.
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