Floating Wetlands in Lower Young’s Pond

 Update: Autumn 2015

Because, seemingly unabated, silt continues to accumulate in Bryan Park’s lakes, our “floating wetlands” no longer float.  They are mired in the mud and cannot be moved to deeper waters. Even if we could move them, there is very little deep water in the ponds that would allow them to float and do their filtering work.  In late winter, we will clear the islands of dead stalks and leaves to make way for new spring growth.  Other than that, until the ponds are dredged, our islands cannot do their job.

Our friends the duck is on an empty nest with some broken eggs nearby

Our friends the duck is on an empty nest with some broken eggs nearby

Update: June 2014

After the islands have been rehabbed

After the islands have been rehabbed

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Richmond Parks and FoBP joined forces to rehab the floating islands.  Initially they had been planted later than we would have wanted, experienced a very cold winter and had become a visiting site for our resident geese and ducks.  A much-loved duck had been nesting on one of the islands, but only when we knew that she’d been there for well over the month long incubation period did we approach.  She was sitting on an eggless nest, so we felt comfortable going ahead with our plans.  We added coneflowers, cardinal flowers and hibiscus–all natives that support our local pollinators.  To deter our feathered friends (the sticks we had placed on the islands in December just blew off) we used small posts to anchor a “cat’s cradle” design of string over the island. Turtles and small birds can still visit, but the larger water fowl, which not only may nest on the islands, but snack on our plants, hopefully will find other places nearby to consider home! Click on the photos to enlarge them.

 

 

 

Aimee and Rob place sticks on the island to discourage the ducks and geese form making the wetland their home. The cinder blocks, tied to the island with rope, will serve as anchors.

Aimee and Rob place sticks on the island to discourage the ducks and geese form making the wetland their home. The cinder blocks, tied to the island with rope, will serve as anchors.

In December 2013 two floating wetlands were launched in Bryan Park, thanks to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and its aim to improve water quality in Upham Brook.  A dam on this brook has created the park’s two main lakes, known as Upper and Lower Young’s ponds.  You can visit the photo gallery to see pictures of the launch and read a brief explanation of the benefits of adding “floating islands” (or wetlands) to a waterway.  But are you curious to know more?  The creator and provider of the islands, Floating Islands Southeast, has a terrific website.  You can visit it at www.floatingislandse.com  Maybe you just want a quick overview with lots of colorful photos?  You can download the flyer (.pdf)  from the company.

Our good friend Phil Riggan at Richmond.com came out to watch the launch.  He wrote a wonderful article about the process–complete with more photos. You can read his article here.

Friends of Bryan Park are excited by the addition of these islands, as improving the park is always foremost in our mission.  We thank the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for choosing the park’s lakes to launch these two wetlands. FoBP, with the help of volunteers from the Virginia Master Naturalists Riverine Chapter, will maintain (weed, replant, as needed) the islands until we are too old to do it!

You can download the flyer here. Floating Wetlands

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