Allison Leahy

Floating Islands Will Restore Life to Minnesota's Spring Lake

by , 08/10/11

spring lake, minnesota, water quality, algae blooms, contamination, nitrates, pH, ASLA-MN, ASLA, american society of landscape architects, floating islands, floating island, artificial island, floating treatment wetlands, ftw, wetlands, native species, natural habitat, recycled plastic, plastic, polyurethane foam, green design, eco design, eco friendly, environmental design, environment, infrastructure, sustainable design, sustainable living, green living, eco habitat, eco conscious, green infrastructure, co2, climate change

What do you do with a “severely impaired” body of water and an unsightly shoreline park that is riddled with invasive species?  Launch a series of luscious floating islands!  In an effort to improve water conditions and restore natural habitats, the American Society of Landscape Architects has designed a series of seven floating islands (aka floating treatment wetlands). The islands, which mimic native wetlands, are constructed from non-toxic, post-consumer recycled plastics and then injected with inert polyurethane foam (the kind of stuff found in Memory Foam mattresses) for buoyancy.


spring lake, minnesota, water quality, algae blooms, contamination, nitrates, pH, ASLA-MN, ASLA, american society of landscape architects, floating islands, floating island, artificial island, floating treatment wetlands, ftw, wetlands, native species, natural habitat, recycled plastic, plastic, polyurethane foam, green design, eco design, eco friendly, environmental design, environment, infrastructure, sustainable design, sustainable living, green living, eco habitat, eco conscious, green infrastructure, co2, climate change, picnic

Spring Lake, Minnesota was once teeming with Bluegill, Largemouth Bass, Northern Pike, Sunfish and Walleye.  Since its recognition as a wildlife refuge in 1893, the 123 acre lake has been placed on the Impaired Waters List.  The lake’s long list of water quality problems include nitrates, pH, E.coli, chloride, low oxygen, and fecal coliform bacteria.

Introducing the floating islands will create a concentrated wetland effect that eliminates algae blooms and pulls problematic nutrients out of the water while offering songbirds a place to nest, sustaining insect populations and providing an aesthetic beauty that will encourage the return of wary picnickers.

The launch date is set for August 17th. If successful, the artificial islands will be a wildlife habitat and water treatment facility that will see Spring Lake restored its former glory.

+ American Society of Landscape Architects

Lead image courtesy of Midwest Floating Island

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1 Comment

  1. caeman August 11, 2011 at 9:30 am

    This is a great idea for restoring water, animal and plant quality in way that also enhances the beauty of the environment.

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