Water-Related News

Citizen scientists create DIY floating islands

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By Ernesto Lasso de la Vega

Citizens of the Venice Garden Civic Association Lakes Group (aka The Lakes Group) have taken upon themselves to beautify the stormwater pond in their Southwest Florida neighborhood. With the help of a FLMS Love Your Lakes Shoreline Grant Program, the residents were able to purchase plants to protect the shoreline in places where erosion and lack of vegetation has jeopardized their shore properties.

In addition, plants and materials were also used to construct a prototype “do-it-yourself” floating island. This island will work as a filtration unit for the excess nutrients present in the water and will generate more plants as they overpopulate the island. These plants will then find their place as new shoreline plantings where homeowners have accepted the responsibility and desire to enhance their littoral zone.

The civic association has invested over 63 hours of work, showing other communities that their efforts have paid off. Birds have been spotted nesting in these areas, flowering plants have beautified the shore and the community is expecting the water quality to improve. Citizen scientists will continue to monitor the pond with measurements of turbidity in the water using a Secchi disc.

Editor’s note: Ernesto Lasso de la Vega, Pond Watch Coordinator for the Lee County Hyacinth Control District, continues to work with the homeowners, providing education and guidance for their project. He will be creating a short video at the end of the project. Stay tuned!