Floating Wetland Islands Installed To Improve Our Lake Quality

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Written by Anthony Morelli

On June 27, 2019

Floating Wetland Islands offer an innovative solution to space limitations and provide many of the same benefits as traditional wetlands. They are mobile, temporary wetlands that can be strategically placed to maximize their nutrient-reducing and habitat-building capabilities. —Fred S. Lubnow

Two sets of Floating Wetland Islands (FWIs) have been placed in Lake Holiday, joining the Carp Exclusionary Zones that were installed in May and featured in the June edition of the Community Newsletter.  Princeton Hydro, our Lake Management Consultant Company, was on site June 25 and 26 to plant, cover with protective netting, and then deploy four Floating Wetland Islands.

Final constructions and delivery took place on-site at Lake Holiday and this is what the process looked like in photos:

The tributary coves of Isaac’s and Yeider’s Creeks each received two inter-connected islands in the rear areas where they enter the lake.  They were placed in a manner to minimize or eliminate interference with normal boat traffic movement and are secured with coated cable to trees on the bank along with protective bands around the trees.  In addition, the FWIs have submerged concrete blocks secured with rope on the outer corners. Some minimal movement is expected with these installations as a result of major wind or water events.

The FWIs are approximately 12-feet by 8-feet each in size and consist of recycled plastic materials situated in a buoyant, high surface area matrix.  Within each plastic island are numerous plugs (holes) where Princeton Hydro planted water-tolerant native vegetation.  The plants chosen by Princeton Hydro and approved by the Lake Committee are strains not eaten by our grass carp population.

As the plants grow above the island surface, their root structures travel down into the water and serve to capture a portion of the nutrient (phosphorus) and sediment loads that would otherwise enter the lake.  These nutrients in specific levels can trigger an algae bloom.  The islands will also provide surface habitat for Lake Holiday wildlife while the underwater root structures provide habitat for fish and other water-based life.

After approximately ten days the islands will be up-taking lake water sufficient to sustain growth.  In the meantime, volunteers are helping with watering the installations daily as recommended by Princeton Hydro.

Thanks are extended to volunteer residents James and Frances Coates and Rick Post for their help in planting the FWIs.

As with the Carp Exclusionary Zones, the success of these devices is contingent on them not being disturbed by residents. In addition, as there are submerged ropes and concrete blocks attached to the FWI corners, boaters are asked to keep a safe distance.

Some more photos of their deployment:

~Lake Committee Co-Chair, Jon Reedy

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