New Zealand to have the world’s largest floating wetland!

30 September 2011

Rotorua to get the world's largest floating island!

What is believed to be the world’s largest manmade floating wetland should be ready to be launched on Lake Rotorua before the end of the year as a major environmental enhancement project to help restore the lake’s water quality.  It is estimated that the floating island will remove up to four tonnes of nitrogen and over 1,000 kilograms of phosphorus from the lake every year.  Technology used in construction of the rugby field sized floating wetland will involve the recycling of more than half a million plastic soft drink bottles to be transformed into an expansive 5,100 square metre floating fibre mat. Read more »

CyanoAlert – blue-green algae caused Kansas dog deaths

30 September 2011

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, in conjunction with the Kansas State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, can confirm that toxic blue-green algae is responsible for the death of one dog and suspected death of two others.    The two dogs suspected of blue-green algae poisoning are presently undergoing testing at the K-State Laboratory. In all three instances, the dogs had been in the water at Milford Lake, which is in Clay, Geary and Dickinson Counties. Read more »

Floating Islands Part 6: Stream rehabilitation

30 September 2011

BioHaven floating islands provide a powerful and effective tool for permanent or temporary stream rehabilitation.

Islands being planted for use in a damaged and regraded streambed

The islands will do the work while the stream recovers

Islands establishing in the newly-functional stream

Islands, doubling as walkways, providing high-capacity treatment in concrete urban canals

Floating Islands Part 5: The big challenges

30 September 2011

There is a BioHaven available for those really demanding problems – wastewater, dairy washdowns and winery wastes.  This guzzler is aptly named “Leviathan”.

Small Leviathan being assembled

Leviathan in floating streambed configuration

The joys of spring

30 September 2011

Mom, Dad and the kids enjoying the view! (Photo: Bill Harding)

CyanoAlert – controversy over warning signs…

29 September 2011

Blue-green algae produce a multitude of toxins that are hazardous to both humans and animals.  Authorities are morally-obliged to post warnings at any waterbody that contains a bloom of these algae.  To not do so is arguably a criminal offence – despite the absence of any laws specifying this requirement. Read more »

Moving towards a practical and pragmatic definition of wetlands…

29 September 2011

The term “wetland” means land which is transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems, where the water table is usually at or near the surface, or the land is periodically covered with shallow water, and which land in normal circumstances supports or would support vegetation typically adapted to life in saturated soil (wording as per the South African Water Act of 1998).

While workable, the definition of wetlands used in South Africa is a catch-all and does not provide anything near the level of specificity for different types of wetlands.  Additionally, it has allowed the inclusion of all sorts of non-wetland environments to be included, such as ornamental ponds, roadside drains and farm dams!  The latter situation has, ostensibly, arisen from a overly-purist, knee-jerk attempt to compensate for the massive historic loss of wetlands on a global scale.  This approach, stemming from a lack of skills in wetland assessment, devalues wetlands sensu strictu and is fraught with confusion.

Read more »

Floating Islands: Part 4

29 September 2011

Today we look at the many applications that Biohavens are suited to.  All of these applications are multifunctional, i.e. providing water quality treatment plus more!

Wastewater or stormwater treatment

Parks and zoos

Business parks and residential developments

Jetties, walkways and launching platforms for lakes and rivers

Residential lakeside jetties

Floating artificial streams for fish spawning



BioHavens with walkways and suspended bass breeding cage


Koi ponds

Floating bird nests

...the bird happily in its floating home...

Islands covered in gravel to create nesting sites for Caspian terns

Caspian tern decoysOr just something pretty...

You scratch my back…

29 September 2011

Alpha male Chacma baboon gets groomed. What a life! Photo: Bill Harding

The hidden threats of exposure to water

29 September 2011

For many years I have cautioned about contaminants in wastewater effluents and stormwater that are not removed by conventional treatment processes, nor reflected in any monitoring protocols.  This concern is especially relevant in South Africa, a country where wastewater comprises a major component of the water that ends up in our dams and rivers.  The scale of the problem is exacerbated by the fact that most of our wastewater treatment plants, euphemistically named watercare facilities, don’t do their job properly.  Guidelines and standards for effluents only target the easy to measure stuff – and even then some of the limits set are of no real value.

Yet another study has highlighted the dangers of what is leading to a rapidly-increasing health risk arising from environmental exposure to a whole pot pourri of contaminants. Given the importance of this issue, Droplets provides verbatim the news report on this study. Read more »