1. Humanity is facing a biodiversity crisis, with freshwater-associated biodiversity in a particularly dire state. Novel ecosystems created through human use of mineral resources, such as gravel pit lakes, can provide substitute habitats for the conservation of freshwater and riparian biodiversity. Many of these artificial ecosystems are subject to a high intensity of recreational use, however, which may limit their biodiversity potential.
2. The species richness of several taxa (plants, amphibians, dragonflies, damselflies, waterfowl, and songbirds) was assessed and a range of taxonomic biodiversity metrics were compared between gravel pit lakes managed for recreational fisheries (n = 16) and unmanaged reference lakes (n = 10), controlling for non-fishingrelated environmental variation.
3. The average species richness of all the taxa examined was similar among lakes in both lake types and no substantial differences in species composition were found when examining the pooled species inventory. Similarly, there were no differences between lake types in the presence of rare species and in the Simpson diversity index across all of the taxa assessed.
4. Variation in species richness among lakes was correlated with woody habitat, lake morphology (surface area and steepness), and land use, but was not correlated with the presence of recreational fisheries. Thus, non-fishing-related environmental variables had stronger effects on local species presence than recreational fisheries management or the presence of recreational anglers.
5. Collectively, no evidence was found that anglers and recreational fisheries management constrain the development of aquatic and riparian biodiversity in gravel pit lakes in the study region; however, the conservation of species diversity in gravel pit lakes could benefit from an increasing reliance on habitat enhancement activities.