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Whittier, T., D.P. Larsen, S.A. Peterson, and T. Kincaid. 2002. A comparison of impoundments and natural drainage lakes in the Northeast USA. Hydrobiologia 470:157-171. WED-00-107

We classified 235 randomly selected lentic waterbodies (>1 ha) in the Northeast USA as human created, or natural. We compared geographic extent and distribution, morphology and hydrology, trophic state, and fish assemblage metrics of impoundments and natural drainage lakes. We estimated that 46% of the 10,607 (1,695; 95% CI) lentic waterbodies in the region were impoundments or quarries; 68% of Uplands lakes and 26% of Lowlands lakes were natural. Impoundments were smaller, shallower, had shorter water residence times, and were in watersheds with greater human activity than were natural drainage lakes. More than half (55%) of Lowlands impoundments were eutrophic, accounting for 67% of eutrophic or hypereutrophic lentic waterbodies in the Northeast. An estimated 90% of eutrophic lakes and impoundments were <23 ha. Impoundments had greater proportions of fish species and individuals tolerant of human disturbance, and greater proportions of non-native species and individuals than did natural drainage lakes. We discuss some management implications of the differences between impoundments and natural drainage lakes.

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