From plants and bugs to turtles and fish, shallow lakes and ponds contain their own complete ecosystems. Bloomington has around 500 shallow lakes, according to Water Resource Specialist Jack Distel.
“We define a shallow lake as a body of water that doesn’t get deep enough to have different layers of water temperature,” Distel said. “That includes ponds. Bloomington has a lot of these types of bodies of water. The ecosystems they hold are really cool.”
Shallow lakes and ponds exist in two states. One is called a turbid state—that is when the water looks muddy. The other is called a clear water state—that means sunlight can hit the bottom so plants can thrive.
“The right kind of plants thriving are good news because they are the main competitors for invasive plants and algae,” Distel said. “They also provide oxygen, food and occasionally shelter for the wildlife that call these bodies of water home.”
Check out the illustration above to see how a clear water shallow lake or pond serves as its own complete ecosystem.