'Floating gardens' helping to clean Kelowna pondwater | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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'Floating gardens' helping to clean Kelowna pondwater

These are "floating gardens" placed in Redlich Pond.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

They look more like a floating dock than islands but new structures just installed in Kelowna’s Redlich Pond are designed to clean water flowing down storm drains before it gets to Okanagan Lake.

Called “floating gardens,” each of the six islands is two metres by four metres and are joined together, end to end and tethered about 15 metres from either shore so they look more like a dock stranded in the middle of the pond.

They are made of a plastic material with holes where hundreds of aquatic plants were planted so will take on a more natural-looking life in the future.

Redlich Pond, in the Old Glenmore area of the city, was originally a wetland on an orchard but is now part of the city’s stormwater drainage system, according to a City of Kelowna news release.

“Redlich Pond receives water run-off from the lower Glenmore neighbourhood, parts of Clifton Road as well as surrounding neighbourhoods,” Jason Jenson, the city’s infrastructure delivery design technician, said in the release. “The floating bio-islands contain plants that are designed to provide additional passive biological remediation and treatment in the pond before the stormwater drains into Brandt’s Creek and discharges into Okanagan Lake.”

The islands will cover 42 square metres of the pond, or about one per cent of the surface.

Only native plants, such as sandbar willow, soft-stemmed bulrush, small-flowered bulrush and beaked sedge, will be planted.

There has been algae growth in the pond and the water is not as clear as it once was, Jenson said. Part of the project is to try to figure out what changes there have been in the pond that has caused the decrease in clarity. The roots of the plants on the islands will pull some of the nutrients out of the water that feed the algae.

This is the first phase of the project with plans to add more islands in the future. It's the first time this kind of technology has been tried in Kelowna.

This illustrates how the gardens work.
This illustrates how the gardens work.
Image Credit: Submitted/City of Kelowna

Stormwater comes off roads and other hard surfaces and is not treated before entering Okanagan Lake.

The water from Redlich Pond flows into Brandt’s Creek then into Rotary Marsh, next to Tugboat Beach, where it settles before entering the lake.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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