Trout Lake gets floating island to improve biodiversity, purify water

A new floating habitat on Trout Lake will encourage biodiversity and help clean the body of water in John Hendry Park.

The 60-square-meter green island of interlocking platforms has been planted with native species of rushes and sedges and was towed out onto the lake on June 6.

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation expects the island to attract insect and animal life both above and below the water’s surface.

Birds and ducks will use the planted surface as a preening and nesting platform, it is hoped, and they will also find food among the masses of hanging roots underneath. These will attract fish and microscopic life that will consume carbon and algae and help purify the lake, which sometimes closes during summer months due to E. coli pollution.

“The impacts of climate change—unseasonably cold temperatures, extreme heat, extended drought—are a continued threat to Vancouver’s environment and wildlife, and we must do everything we can to seek new, sustainable ways to support our greenspaces through this climate emergency,” Chad Townsend, the park board’s senior planner of environment and sustainability said in a June 6 release.

“Not only is this a positive step in increasing biodiversity in John Hendry Park,” Townsend continued, “it’s also an experiment in testing innovative new solutions to support our local flora and fauna and improve the natural habitats in which they live long term.”

The habitat, thought to be the first of its kind in the Lower Mainland, was supplied by local ecological-tech outfit Biomatrix Water and donated by Vancouver company BlueTech Research.

The island’s launch date was chosen to coincide with this year’s edition of the annual BlueTech Forum on global water management issues (held June 7 and 8) at the Vancouver Convention Centre).

“Through our work at Biomatrix, we aim to create an opportunity for people to reconnect with the natural world at the heart of the places where they live,” managing director Galen Fulford said in the bulletin.

“Natural wetland water systems have been increasing biodiversity and water quality and providing habitats for plants and animals for millennia,” Fulford said. “The installation of a floating ecosystem at John Hendry Park is an incredible opportunity to help create more thriving ecosystems right within the city ​​of Vancouver.”

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