Memphremagog (mem-fre-ma-gog) is of Native American origin. The Abenaki tribe called it “Mam-low-baug-og”, meaning “great pond place”, while the Algonquins referred to it as “Momhrah-gog”, meaning “large expanse of waters” or “beautiful waters”. The lake straddles the border of Vermont, US and Quebec, Canada and was made by the ancient glaciers. Lake Memphremagog is a long but narrow lake, about 40 km (32 miles) in length and 1 to 3 km in width. Located 130 km to the east of Montreal, Quebec. The maximum depth of the lake Memphremagog is 107 meters (351 feet) that is as high as a 30 floor building! It also has a surface area of 102 km2 (39 sq mi) with 20 islands.
The lake supplies drinking water to numerous municipalities. It is sought-after by nautical sports amateurs and fishermen. It’s history, beauty, and attractions make it a precious jewel for our region. It’s protection and survival depend on all of us.
It is a transboundary lake, receiving 71% of its stream inflow from Vermont, USA, portion of its catchment, but with 75% of the lake surface area in Quebec. It is a lake of exceptional, rugged beauty; set in a diverse landscape, hilly and mountainous to the west, but with pastoral, rolling farmland to the east. The drainage basin of Lake Memphremagog is situated in the physiographic region of the Piedmont.
It’s early geologic history is tied to the uplift and folding of the Appalachian Mountain chain. The present lake basin was formed about 11,000 BP by glacial gouging of a pre-existing valley during the final retreat of the Wisconsin glaciation. Following the termination of the Champlain Sea phase, the present lake was formed about 9,500 BP.
The lake has three distinct basins, a deep Central, a shallower North and a South basins. 70% of the lake’s watershed is drained by three rivers which enter the lake at the extreme south end and provide the primary input of nutrients into the lake. This has resulted in a distinct nutrient gradient within the lake: the southern end is mesotrophic, while the Central and North basins remain oligotrophic.