May 10, 2018

Springfield, Mo., Experiments With Floating Wetlands

The city has seeded 30 floating wetlands in Sequiota Park using native plants

Floating wetlands used in Springfield, Mo.
Floating wetlands used in Springfield, Mo.

Sequiota Park in Springfield, Mo., has seeded 30 floating wetlands in an attempt to combat algae blooms. City of Springfield employees helped plant the floating wetlands with six different species of water plants native to Missouri. They hope the plants will soak up nitrogen and phosphorous, which has increasingly been a problem for Sequita Lake in recent years from sources including lawn fertilizer, storm water runoff, and bat feces from a nearby Sequiota cave. 

The wetlands will seek to mimic nature’s natural system and restore the balance of the lake’s water quality. Notably, all 30 floating wetlands are made from recycled materials donated by local organizations, according to the Springfield News-Leader. Cocoa bean bags donated by Askinosie Chocolate hold plastic bottles that keep the islands floating. Even the anchor points on each corner of the wetlands are made from recycled street signs, and coconut fiber provides the plants with a growth medium. To cap it all off, recycled plastic mesh holds the fiber layers in place.

City officials are optimistic the floating wetlands will create a long-term change in the water body.

“Not only will they take up nutrients from the water, they are made with native Missouri aquatic plants,” Carrie Lamb, water quality compliance officer with the city’s Department of Environmental Services said. “They’ll provide habitat for Missouri pollinators and shade for aquatic creatures.”