Floating solutions for unsightly ornamental ponds

8 August 2014

Not a thing of beauty and not an environment that aquatic animals can easily live in.

Not a thing of beauty and not an environment that aquatic animals can easily live in.

There is no earthly reason why your ornamental pond or dam should not look marvellous.  Who wants a dam that looks like the one above?  Muddy, murky, very little life (even the poor turtle was struggling) and with (and I use term generously) “an island”.  It is very difficult to create a stabilised, healthy and beautiful waterbody in an artificial environment unless biomimicking structures such as floating islands are employed.  But, with not too much effort, the effect below can be easily created! Read more »

Floating islands part of Val de Vie success

23 January 2014

Val de Vie before the makeover!  (Photo: Bill Harding).

Val de Vie before the makeover! (Photo: Bill Harding).

The Val de Vie Lifstyle Estate outside Paarl (Western Province, South Africa) is described in the latest edition of Environmental Management (Dec/Jan 2013/14, Vol 8, pg 16 et seq) as an ‘environmental benchmark.  When I first surveyed the site, ten years ago, it was a harsh, alien infested area where clay and sand were being mined.  Today its quite different and is the locale that is now described as a benchmark for environmental rehabilitation.  It is certainly very hard to view what is there now against what was there back in 2004. Read more »

Floating island project receives major EPA award

20 June 2013


Stennis Space Center, MS – The Gulf of Mexico Program recently announced Martin Ecosystem, LLC will receive a Second Place 2013 Gulf Guardian Award in the Business/Industry Category. The awards ceremony will be held on June 26, 2013, at the Tampa Bay Grand Hyatt beginning at 6PM.

The BioHaven® Floating Treatment Wetland (BFTW) project at Elayn Hunt Correctional was done to determine how this new innovative water treatment tool could remove unwanted nutrients from wastewater prior to discharge to the environment. The BFTW accomplished this goal and in addition has helped the wastewater treatment facility achieve and maintain compliance with their permit. In the five years prior to the implementation of this project and launching of the BFTWs into the wastewater system, the facility had an average of 10 noncompliance reports. Following the installation of BFTWs non-compliance events have been reduced to 1 or less per year. Read more »

Pollution-eating islands: the latest farming tool

23 February 2013

Newly-planted BioHaven floating island

Newly-planted BioHaven floating island

Not all floating islands are “floating islands”.  Many are just floating rafts that support some plants, providing only just a small fraction of the pollution-guzzling capabilities of truly-biomimicking approaches such as BioHavens, created by Floating Islands International in Montana, USA.  This report details yet another example of where BioHavens are being put to effective use. Read more »

Floating islands at Nitida winery making a difference

12 February 2013

Four-month old islands at Nitida winery (Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa) (Photo: Nitida)

Four-month old islands at Nitida winery (Durbanville, Cape Town, South Africa) (Photo: Nitida)

A small trial – just 12 square meters – of BioHaven floating islands, provided “on appro” to Durbanville’s Nitida winery, has settled in well. Of course, the 12 square meters provides the surface area that would be achieved by a wetland more than 100 times this size!   The islands, planted with Dietes and other irises, were installed late last year (2012) – into a dam that is topped up with treated effluent during the summer, i.e. a potential site for problematical algal blooms.  As is evident from the photo above, the water is nice and clear – and contains some highly-desirable pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus) and a small overgrowth of blanket weed (Cladophora species).  Bernhard Veller of Nitida has cleverly positioned a floating circulator next to the island in order to maximize the flow of water past the island and hence achieve the maximum level of water quality enhancement.

The picture below shows the plant growth as of October 2013 – approx. 10 months after installation.

Lush plant growth instead of lush algal growth!!

Lush plant growth instead of lush algal growth!!

Floating islands a major player in Louisiana marsh restoration

7 November 2012

Round One to the Volunteers


Floating Islands habitat project marks impressive progress rebuilding Louisiana marsh. 

ONE OF THE MORE innovative projects under- taken so far by the CCA Building Conservation Habitat Program is the Floating Islands marsh restoration project in Louisiana. Viewed as a potentially better, cheaper way to rebuild marsh, the Floating Islands concept is outperforming all expectations. Read more »

Sea sawdust takes shine off Gold Coast waters

5 November 2012

Coastal waters throughout Australia’s Gold Coast have developed blooms of the marine cyanobacterium Trichodesmium.  In a statement the Gold Coast City Council has announced that:

Water quality testing by Gold Coast City Council has identified blue green algal blooms (Trichodesmium) in a number of coastal areas across the city.  Council has received calls about the bloom occurring at Coolangatta, Tallebudgera, Miami and Biggera Waters, most likely caused by a combination of warmer weather and calm conditions.  The blooms, most common between August and December, move with tides and wind so it is likely that most of our coastal waters can be affected. The bloom is not generally considered to be harmful to human health, however residents are advised to avoid affected areas as it can irritate the skin. If contact occurs, wash off with clean fresh water.

They also provide a handy fact sheet about Trichodesmium. Read more »

Floating Islands: The man behind the BioHaven idea

2 November 2012

Bruce Kania, the founder of Floating Islands International

No man is an island. However, one man’s name is becoming synonymous with them. Bruce Kania came up with the idea for Floating Island International after seeing firsthand how wetlands and waterways are being destroyed.

In 2000, his dog, Rufus, jumped into a pond and came out coated in a reddish goop. The water was teeming with nitrogen and phosphorus, runoff from nearby farms and ranches — the same kind of runoff that pollutes waterways around the world. Read more »

Floating wetland project planned for Baltimore Harbour

18 October 2012

Artists impression of the floating wetlands planned for Baltimore Harbour (Source: CBS Baltimore).

The Baltimore Marine Center is thinking big, proposing to take an acre and a half of water zoned for 80 additional boat slips, and turning it into a much larger floating wetland to help clean the water.

Water pollution threatens Florida’s economy

2 October 2012

Floating island sucking up nutrients in a purpose-designed stormwater management device. Source: DH Environmental Consulting

More and more discussions are focussing on the damage that poor water quality can do to an economy.  This is a good sign as the realization is starting to take root and, albeit a very small change, there may be a move away from the tunnel-vision focus on water quantity to consider the other side of the same coin. Read more »