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Lake Pontchartrain

Credit: U. S. Geological Survey (21 April, 2004)
From: USEPA, 1999; USGS, 2003

Lake Pontchartrain is located north of the city of New Orleans. Lake Pontchartrain and its adjacent lakes in Louisiana (Lake Maurepas, Lake Borgne) form one of the largest estuaries in the Gulf Coast region. The estuary drains the Pontchartrain Basin, an area of over 12,000 sq. km situated on the eastern side of the Mississippi River delta plain (USEPA, 1999). Lake Maurepas and Lake Pontchartrain are bounded by landmasses and coastal marshlands, and Lake Borgne is open to the east and connects directly with Mississippi Sound.

Lake Pontchartrain and its Basin offer opportunities for fishing, crabbing, swimming, and boating, but are today described as Louisiana's most environmentally impacted estuary. Coordinated efforts are currently underway to restore the environmental quality of the Basin.

Lake Pontchartrain

Coordinates:   30.30° N  90.27° W

Selected Characteristics: (USEPA, 1999)
Surface Area:   1,839 km2
Drainage Area:   14,200 km2
Average Daily FW Inflow:   303 m3/s
Average Depth:   3.0 m
Average Salinity:   2 ppt

USEPA. 1999. Ecological condition of estuaries in the Gulf of Mexico. EPA 620-R-98-004. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Gulf Ecology Division, Gulf Breeze, Florida. 80 pp.

USGS. Environmental Atlas of the Lake Ponchartrain Basin. Located on the web at:

Additional Information:
LACoast - Lake Ponchartrain Basin
USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program - Lake Ponchartrain Basin
USGS Coastal & Marine Geology Program - Lake Ponchartrain Basin
Lake Ponchartrain Basin Foundation
University of New Orleans Coastal Research Laboratory
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge
USGS - Environmental Atlas of the Lake Ponchartrain Basin

Keywords:   Bays, Estuaries, Lake, Pontchartrain, Borgne, Maurepas

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