Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois
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Man-Made Lakes and Ponds
Nature Bulletin No. 112   April 19, 1947
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
William N. Erickson, President
Roberts Mann, Supt. of Conservation

MAN-MADE LAKES AND PONDS


Conservation is on the march. Slowly, we are stopping the pollution of our streams by sewage and industrial wastes; we are restoring many lakes and ponds and marshes, or creating new ones. In the Middle West, where soils are rich and land values high, we are finding many locations, unsuitable or marginal for farming, where we can easily and cheaply impound a body of water benefiting the community more than any agricultural use of that land. Because of the benefits to wildlife, the various forms of recreation provided, and their benefit to the adjacent land, these are called multiple-use water areas.

The Illinois Department of Conservation is beginning the construction of a carefully planned state-wide system which will provide publicly owned lakes and ponds in every county. In the Palos section of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County there are 86 lakes, ponds and sloughs, varying from one to 325 acres in area, totaling 1027 acres, existing or planned. Missouri, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, and other states are building thousands of lakes and farm ponds.

Such lakes near cities and villages can serve as sources of water supply and, if sufficient land surrounding them is purchased, recreation in the form of fishing, swimming, boating, picnicking and camping. In m any counties there is no publicly owned land for outdoor recreation other than the " square" in the center of a town or, perhaps, a small city park. For the farmer, a pond will furnish water for his livestock, swimming, and ample fishing for his family. If bottom-feeding fish, like carp and suckers, are kept out and a natural shoreline allowed to develop, the desirable fish will thrive, a variety of aquatic plants will grow, and the songbirds, wild ducks and shorebirds will be attracted. Muskrats and mink will make the lake or pond their home; the tracks of possum and raccoon will be seen in the mud; crawfish and turtles and minnows will provide fun for boys and girls.

Water, like fire, has an irresistible attraction. Some folks come to paddle a canoe or row a boat. Some swim. Some come to hunt. Some come to fish for sport or food. Some come to rest and dream.


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