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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Update: June 2012