Arbitrary Rivalry Wednesday: Lake Winnipeg vs. Lake Michigan

by J.R.

With NBC declaring Hump Day as Rivalry Wednesday and then determining what is and isn’t a rivalry seemingly at random — tonight it’s Ranger and Pens! — III Communication will feature a true Conference III rivalry each and every Wednesday there’s an intra-Conference III game in Arbitrary Rivalry Wednesday Powered By Corporate Champions Wal-Mart Brand Frozen Peas.

Today, in honor of a real on-ice rivalry on the schedule, III Communication invites into the arena two mighty bodies of water: Lake Winnipeg and Lake Michigan.

Throw out the record books — we’re doing this III Communication style.

Lake Winnipeg!

Lake Winnipeg!

Lake Michigan!

Lake Michigan!

Traditional Metrics: Lake Winnipeg has a surface area of 9,485 square miles, a maximum length of 258 miles and a maximum width of 80 miles. Its average depth is 39 feet with a maximum depth of 118 feet. It contains 71 cubic miles (CUBIC MILES) of water. It is contained entirely in the Conference III province of Manitoba.

Lake Michigan has a surface area of 22,300 square miles, a maximum length of 307 miles and a maximum width of 118 miles. Its average depth is 279 feet with a maximum depth of 923 feet. It contains 1,180 cubic miles of water. The only Great Lake entirely within the United States, it touches the shores of Conference III Illinois (IIIinois?), Indiana and Wisconsin and the very Flortheasterly state of Michigan, from which it gets its name.

Verdict: The only way Lake Winnipeg bests Lake Michigan is in location, not having to share itself with any place outside of Conference III, but the numbers favor the Great Lake.
ADVANTAGE: Lake Michigan

Advanced Analytics: Lakes, like hockey players, are not merely length and width and water (well, they kind of are). Hydrologists use a number of second-level statistics in their analysis.

lake-winnipeg-watershedLake Winnipeg has a catchment area — that is a drainage basin — of 380,000 square miles from Alberta to Ontario and down into Montana, Minnesota and the Dakotas. Its residence time — a measure of how long a water molecule will stay within a reservoir — is 3.5 years, far below the standard for a lake. Even with the quick turnover, water quality suffers. Lake Winnipeg has suffered an explosion of algae and phosphorus levels are approaching dangerous levels. Because of this, the Global Nature Fund has named Lake Winnipeg the world’s most threatened lake.

10-705 Great Lakes Basin Map 25x37-rev22Lake Michigan’s catchment is 45,000 square miles, relatively small for a lake its size, in part because of the neighboring Great Lakes and the numerous rivers in the American Midwest. Its residence time is 99 years, actually on the high side for lakes. It’s no water quality superstar either, with beach-level pollution in Wisconsin among the worst among inland waters in the U.S.

Verdict: Neither are quality stars, but Lake Winnipeg serves a vast spread of land. Chicago keeps its water around a lot longer, to be sure, but with awful ingredients, sometimes its better to cut bait (a lesson Kevin Cheveldayoff could learn from his city’s lake).
ADVANTAGE: Lake Winnipeg

Lighthouses: I like lighthouses. A lot. Inland waterway lighthouses were important, especially on Lake Winnipeg — which served a large fishing fleet — and Lake Michigan, which remains one of the key merchant shipping operating areas in the U.S.

GullHarbourMBLake Winnipeg has 17 lighthouses, including the Gull Harbour light. The one pictured above is inactive and was replaced by a modern light (pictured here). The active light stands 90 feet with a focal height of 77 feet. Its light flashes every four seconds and is visible for 17 miles.

Lake Michigan has more lighthouses than any other Great Lake, with one pharologist saying “It seems like every little town along the shore has a river empyting into the lake, with a lighthouse guarding the entrance.” Because so many of these are abandoned or simply pier lights maintained by municipalities, it’s hard to estimate, but it’s safe to say “more than 50.” The Chicago Harbor Light (at top) is a 66 foot tower with an 82 foot focal plane (the difference made up by the pilings upon which it is built). It’s third-order Fresnel lens emits a light with a 24 mile range.

Verdict: Numbers-wise, a casual observer might note Winnipeg is at disadvantage here because it is smaller, but taking that into account, Lake Winnipeg has a lighthouse every 67 miles of shoreline. Even using a low estimate of 50, Lake Michigan boasts a lighthouse every 32 miles. Rate and counting stats simply favor the Great Lake.
ADVANTAGE: Lake Michigan.

Weird Wildlife: What do you know about the Lake Winnipeg Physa? Nothing?

sp_250The Lake Winnipeg Physa snail has a flattened globe-shaped shell that makes the snail appear relatively wide. The fragile shell, which is usually less than 11 mm in length, is a dull bluish-grey colour and often pitted. Living snails have light grey skin marked with a few black spots. The snail has an extremely delicate shell, and frequently does not live for more than one year.

Now you know nearly everything there is to know about it.

blandings_turtleBlanding’s turtle is spread all throughout the Great Lakes region — and twice failed to become Minnesota’s state reptile, but is particularly prominent in Lake Michigan. It is a threatened animal despite its wide range and is notable for its many bright yellow streaks.

Verdict: Frankly, that snail is weirder.
ADVANTAGE: Lake Winnipeg

Invasive danger: Recently, the zebra mussel has made its way into Lake Winnipeg. From Yahoo!:

Zebra mussels, an invasive species that provincial conservation officials have been concerned would show up here, have been found in Lake Winnipeg.

Manitoba Conservation said the freshwater molluscs that can multiply rapidly were recently found on the hull of a private boat and a dock at Winnipeg Beach, and on some fishing boats dry docked at Gimli.

The province said it is responding rapidly to determine the extent of the infestation.

It said the species poses a threat to boats, docks and can clog water treatment plant intake and discharge pipes, encrust in-water infrastructure, foul boat motors and may affect beaches.

Sounds bad. Meanwhile, there’s genetic evidence Asian carp have made their way to Lake Michigan. A video:

Verdict: Those zebra mussels can really screw up a boat motor, but can a fancy-striped mollusk fly and hit boaters in the face? And then leave only its genetic material behind? Bold and stealthy. Carp wins!
ADVANTAGE: Lake Michigan

FINAL JUDGEMENT: A 3-2 win for Lake Michigan, Chicago and her mighty Blackhawks. The Jets would love to keep tonight’s game that close.