Monday, 9 June 2014

Mature Floating Islands

This evening we took a paddle boat ride to our southern neighbors so we could take a look at their mature floating garden.
Mature Floating Treatment Wetland.

Mr. Rumsby started this one on an old dock about 20 to 25 years ago. It has iris, willow, cedar, hardhack, bulrushes and fir growing on it. This is a perfect example of what a mature floating treatment wetland looks like. It has gone through at least 20 years of ecological sucession.

SheMamma Bell-Irving admires the waterslide addition for the kids.
The wetland has been fully integrated into the property's breakwater structure. Due to the insane abundance of wakeboarding boats on Shawnigan Lake in summer the shoreline is being eroded at a rapid rate and some waterfront owners are literally losing feet of shoreline per year. The lake level is artificially high due to a dam at the north end. The sudden jump in water height 14 years ago killed off a good portion of the riparian plants on the shoreline. This is what began the decline in water quality. The riparian plants were cleaning our lake and the local government inadvertently damaged the lake. To counter the erosion people build retaining walls which then leave even less riparian zone to filter the lake water.

SheMamma Bell-Irving with the floating island.
The solution is floating treatment wetlands like this one. The wetland can be designed with Permaculture principles and become a self sustaining system. The leaves will mulch onto the island, building soil year after year and encouraging habitat for animal and bacterial life to thrive.

It is a triple layered ecosystem. You get a top layer of an island in a lake, the border area at the perimeter that is fabulous fish and insect habitat and the underside is a totally unique ecosystem of suspended roots, microorganisms and fish.

Stacking Functions is one of the core principles of Permaculture and the floating treatment wetland is a perfect example of many functions being condensed into a small area.

Coming soon: water quality tests from underneath this mature floating treatment wetland.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog. I'm going to share it around if that's ok. Is there any way I can follow you?