Real-estate lakes

Circular 601-G




Since the dawn of civilization waterfront land has been an irresistible attraction to man. Throughout history he has sought out locations fronting on oceans, rivers, and lakes. Originally sought for proximity .to water supply and transportation, such locations are now sought more for their esthetic qualities and for recreation. Usable natural waterfront property is limited, however, and the more desirable sites in many of our urban areas have already been taken. The lack of available waterfront sites has led to the creation of many artificial bodies of water. The rapid suburbanization that has characterized urban growth in America since the end of World War II, together with increasing affluence and le-isure time, has created a ready market for waterfront property. Accordingly, lake-centered subdivisions and developments dot the suburban landscape in many of our major urban areas. Literally thousands of lakes surrounded by homes have materialized during this period of rapid growth. Recently, several "new town" communities have been planned around this lake-centered concept. A lake can be either an asset or a liaoility to a community. A clean, clear, attractively landscaped lake is a definite asset, whereas a weed-choked, foul-smelling mudhole is a distinct liability. The urban environment poses both problems and imaginative opportunities in the development of lakes. Creation of a lake causes changes in all aspects of the environment. Hydrologic systems and ecological patterns are usually most severely altered. The developer should be aware of the potential changes; it is not sufficient merely to build a dam across a stream or to dig a hole in the ground. Development of Gl a successful lake requires careful planning for site selection and design, followed by thorough and cc ntinual management. The purpose of this report is to describe the characteristics of real-estate lakes, to pinpoint potential pmblems, and to suggest possible planning and management guidelines for their solution. It is not intended as a construction manual nor is it intended to supplant on-site engineering planning. Rather, the report is an a'lpraisal of the wide range of potential water and water-related problems that arise in making real-estate lakes attractive visually and functional environmentally. It is wr:tten to acquaint developers, property owners, and citizen groups with these problems so that they may be more knowledgeable in seeking adequate planning. and engfneering advice. The report should also be useful to vario·.ts regulatory agencies because it relates lake problems to basic hydrologic components. Most of the general information in this rep'lrt was obtained from the 47 district offices of the: Water Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey. Detailed information on specific hydrologic problems came largely from a continuing study of the effects urbanization has had on real-estate lakes. Additional detailed info .. mation was provided by several short-term studies conducted by local Survey offices expressly for this report.

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Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Real-estate lakes
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Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s):
Indiana Water Science Center, Minnesota Water Science Center, Pennsylvania Water Science Center
vii, 19 p.
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United States
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