GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- Heidi Heiland of Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens and a long-time advocate for clean water, adds a new dimension to her commitment to eco-friendly practices with the BioHaven floating island. This man-made island, designed to create a concentrated wetland effect, can be populated with native plants to help protect and restore water in lakes, rivers, ponds and streams.
Heidi has partnered with Midwest Floating Island of St. Paul to bring attention to the benefits of this unique and beautiful way to help clean the water, provide habitat to birds and insects, and enhance the environment for our fish.
About BioHaven floating islands
• Floating islands are available in many sizes and shapes, and can be planted with a large variety of useful and beautiful vegetation.
• The islands consist of a fibrous matrix material made from recycled PET plastic, which is injected with marine foam to create buoyancy. Holes are cut into the platform and planted with native vegetation.
• Underneath the surface, a dynamic biological process takes place. The dense fibers and porous texture of the island help water-borne pollutants stick to its surface. Pollutants are consumed by the biofilm grown on the island material, with additional pollutants taken up by plant roots.
• The islands are anchored into place where they can float with rising and falling water levels.
• Islands are flexible and can be used in a wide range of water bodies.
• Uses include nutrient reduction, pollution reduction, erosion prevention as well as habitat creation, fishery enhancement and beautification.
• The floating peat bogs in northern Wisconsin with world-record fish in crystal clear water provided inspiration for the invention of the BioHaven floating island.
• "Biomimicry" is the practice of duplicating nature's processes in a sustainable way to promote environmental stewardship.
• The BioHaven floating island mimics the cleansing action of a natural or constructed wetland, at a fraction of the cost, by delivering a "concentrated wetland effect."
• Over 4,000 floating islands have been launched in the U.S. and around the world.
Benefits of Floating Islands
• Pollution and Nutrient Reduction - The large surface area of the island matrix material promotes microbial activity. Microbes remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the water, which would otherwise produce algae. The microbes also remove contaminants such as heavy metals, including copper and zinc. Microbes will take up about 80 percent of the nutrients, with the plants taking up about 20 percent.
• Habitat Creation - Habitat for birds and insects is provided both above and below the waterline.
• Fishery Enhancement - The island's substrate encourages periphyton growth, which fish and their prey feed on.
• Wave Energy Reduction - Up to 80 percent of wave energy may be attenuated for shoreline protection.
• Beautification - The islands support garden plants, as well as wetland plants, providing limitless opportunities for unique waterscapes.
Floating Island Plants
Many plant types will thrive in the Floating Island. Even tomato plants, which love the water! Native plants best suited for our Minnesota islands include:
• Asclepias incarnate, Swamp Milkweed
• Aster novae-angliae, New England Aster
• Calamagrostis Canadensis, BlueJoint Grass
• Carex stipata, Awl-Fruited Sedge
• Doellingeria umbellate, Flat topped Aster
• Eutrochium, Joe-Pye Weed
• Liatris ligulistylus, Meadow Blazing Star
• Marsh-Elder, Giant Burweed
• Mimulus guttatus, Yellow Monkey Flower
• Oligoneuron riddellii, Ridell's Goldenrod
• Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susan
• Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani, Softstem Bulrush
• Verbena Hastata, Blue Vervain
• Vernonia Altissima, Iron Weed
• Zizia Aurea, Golden Alexander
Other plants suitable for Floating Islands include:
• Acorus calamus 'Variegata' Variegated Sweet Flag
• Acorus gramineus 'Ogon', Japanese Sweet Flag
• Ajuga sp., Bugleweed
• Aquilegia sp., Columbine
• Cartha palustris, Marsh Marigold
• Canna sp.
• Dichromena colorata, Star Grass
• Equisetum hymale , Horsetail
• Equisetum scirpoides , Dwarf Horsetail
• Glyceria maxima aquatic, Variegated Manna Grass
• Houttuynia cordata 'Variegata', Chameleon Plant
• Iris species, Japanese, Siberian, or Louisiana
• Juncus inflexus 'Lovesick Blues'
• Lysimachia nummularia Creeping Jenny
• Myosotis scirpoides Blue Water Forget- Me-Not
• Oenanthe javanica Water Celery
• Phalaris arundinacea "Feecey', Ribbon Grass
• Pontederia cordata, Pickerel Rush
• Sagittaria latifolia Arrowhead
• Saururus cernuus Lizard Tail
• Scirpus sp., Bull Rush
• Tulbaghia Violacea 'Variegata', Variegated Society Garlic
• Typha sp., Cattails
Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens is a full service, sustainable landscape design, build, installation and maintenance firm serving the Twin Cities metro area, providing plant installation services for BioHaven floating islands.
For more information about Heidi's Lifestyle Gardens, visit heidislifestylegardens.com or call (763) 475-4960.
Midwest Floating Island, LLC, manufactures and distributes BioHavenfloating islands and BioSwales in St. Paul under exclusive license from Floating Island International, Inc. More information is available by visiting midwestfloatingisland.com or calling (651) 379-2480.
Minnesota Native Landscapes grows plants native to the Midwest area, and provides ecological restoration services. For more information, call Keith Fredrick at (320) 980-2822.
(Copyright 2012 KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)