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what is the difference between a lake and a pond?


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Good question. I've always jokingly said that if it is in MN, it is a lake, no matter what. How else would we get so many? grin.gif And the only thing I've ever called a pond is the puddle in back of a livestock farm - a farm pond. tongue.gif

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I thought I read somewhere that it had to do with supply and drain. A "lake" is fed and/or drained by a natural flowing source (river, stream, etc.) while a "pond" has no inlets or outlets. I'm not sure that sounds quite right, but I think it's in the ballpark.

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The folowing is how the DNR defines a lake. It's from www.dnr.state.mn.us/lakes/faqs.html

How are lakes defined in Minnesota?

A lake is not defined by size or depth as some may suggest. A lake may be defined as an enclosed basin filled or partly filled with water. A lake may have an inlet and/or an outlet stream, or it may be completely enclosed (landlocked). Generally, a lake is an area of open, relatively deep water that is large enough to produce a wave-swept shore. For regulatory purposes, Minnesota has grouped its waters into two categories: public waters and public water wetlands. This makes it easier to determine whether a DNR public waters work permit (available under DNR Waters Forms) is required before changes can be made to the course, current, or cross section of these waters.

The state has an interest in protecting not only the amount of water contained in these lakes, wetlands and streams but also the container that confines these waters (i.e., lakes, wetlands, and streams). The obvious reason for these conservation measures is that these waters provide a vital habitat for fish and wildlife, as well as a place for people to fish, hunt, trap, boat, and swim. However, the most important benefits provided by these waters are less obvious:

Substantial amounts of water are stored in these areas and it can seep into the ground to recharge ground water aquifers.

Lakes, wetlands, and streams can store excess water in times of flooding and provide an important reserve of surface water during times of drought. These areas are nature's water treatment systems. They provide an ideal environment for aquatic vegetation and animal organisms to purify the water we have contaminated with suspended soil (erosion), nutrients (from fertilizers and animal wastes), and other pollutants.

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According to wikipedia:

A pond is a body of water smaller than a lake. However the difference between a pond and a lake is subjective. Pond usually describes small bodies of water, generally smaller than one would require a boat to cross. Though not generally accepted, some regions define a pond as a body of water with a surface area of less than 10 acres. ...

Kind of leaves it open-ended I guess!

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Lake, pond... call it what you'd like... As long as it holds some fish. grin.gif

But, I'm dyin' to know: what's the difference between a rock and a stone? and how big does a bottle need to be before it's called a jug? (I can't count how many times Dad brought these up at the dinner table when I was a kid...)

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