Extensive research has been conducted on how large impoundments and reservoirs affect hydrologic, geomorphologic and ecological processes in downstream ecosystems. Surprisingly, few studies have addressed the effects of smaller impoundments and constructed ponds. Pond construction has been considered an important tool for managers seeking to reduce sediment, nutrient and pollutant loads, and increase habitat heterogeneity in streams in an effort to conserve or enhance aquatic species diversity. However, we lack information on the interaction between ponds and stream habitats, which may compromise the efficacy of conservation efforts. The objective of this review is to outline possible physical and biological changes to stream ecosystems resulting from pond construction. Greater understanding of how ponds influence watershed processes at various spatial scales is crucial to evaluating the effects of constructed ponds on stream ecosystems.
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