The Origin and Nature of Lakes in Massachusetts

The lakes in Massachusetts were created in two principal ways: by glacial activity approximately 12,000 years ago or by damming streams or small lake outlets, most of latter occurring during the early industrial age of the country for water power.

In many respects, lakes are like people. They are born, grow older and die, with many possible conditions along the way. Through natural processes, lakes will become shallower and more eutrophic (nutrient-rich) and eventually fill in with sediment until they become wet meadows. The aging process is not identical for all lakes, however.

Some lakes age quickly, others very slowly, and not all start out in the same condition. Many lakes that were formed by the glaciers no longer exist while others have changed little in 12,000 years. The rate of aging is determined by many factors including the depth of the lake, the nutrient richness of the surrounding watershed, the size of the watershed relative to the size of the lake, erosion rates, and human induced inputs of nutrients and other contaminants.

Lakes are therefore highly variable in specific features, and goals for the management of each may vary as well.

By Kenneth J. Wagner, Ph.D., Certified Lake Manager. Read his entire guide at The Practical Guide to Lake Management in Massachusetts

Posted by:

Scott Freerksen “The Lake Guy”, Owner/Broker, Realtor®, Lakefront Living Realty, LLC, Office: (508) 377-7167, EMail:

Leave a Reply