Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Minnesota
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Marcus W. Beck, Bruce Vondracek, Lorin K. Hatch. 2013. Between- and within-lake responses of macrophyte richness metrics to shoreline development. Lake and Reservoir Management 29 (3):179–193.


Aquatic habitat in littoral environments can be affected by residential development of shoreline areas. We evaluated the relationship between macrophyte richness metrics and shoreline development to quantify indicator response at two spatial scales for Minnesota lakes. First, the response of total, submersed, and sensitive species to shoreline development was evaluated within lakes to quantify macrophyte response as a function of distance to the nearest dock. Within-lake analyses using Generalized Linear Mixed Models focused on three lakes of comparable size and minimal influence of watershed land use. Survey points farther from docks had higher total species richness and presence of species sensitive to disturbance. Second, between-lake effects of shoreline development on total, submersed, emergent-floating, and sensitive species were evaluated for a set of 1444 lakes. Generalized Linear Models were developed for all lakes and stratified subsets to control for lake depth and watershed land use. Between-lake analyses illustrated clear response of macrophyte richness metrics to increasing shoreline development, such that fewer emergent-floating and sensitive species were correlated with increasing density of docks. These trends were particularly evident for deeper lakes with lower watershed development. The results provide further evidence that shoreline development is associated with degraded aquatic habitat, particularly by illustrating the response of macrophyte richness metrics across multiple lake types and different spatial scales.