ARTIFICIAL FLOATING ISLANDS (AFIs)
Lake Quality Advisory Committee - Rick and Linda Flores
One of the things that SOLitude (our lake management consultant) discovered in its initial evaluation of 4-Island Lake, was that there are NO aquatic plants on the floor of the lake. The lake is man made, and it has a hard granite bottom. At one time, there were aquatic plants on the bottom, but it is now a desert. Clean, healthy lakes depend on aquatic plants for improved water quality, erosion control, fish habitat, and algae control (by absorbing nutrients) to name a few.
SOLitude recommended, however, that before pursuing an in-depth planting project, the water quality needed to be improved and stabilized. In the interim, the LQAC has initiated a couple of smaller pilot plant projects in the 7th Hole Pond of the golf course. One is the planting of over 200 waterlilies. The other is the use of Artificial Floating Islands (AFIs.)
AFIs are small man-made floating structures that allow aquatic plants to grow in water that is typically too deep for them. They are mini ecosystems which not only absorb nutrients, but also provide a habitat for fish and other organisms. The idea for AFIs originated in Canada and has since been used in several European countries and Japan, as well as the United States. Elaborate AFI’s can be purchased for thousands of dollars, but our team of innovators analyzed models, and designed and built five to suit our needs.
Initially,using 4” corrugated tubing filled with plastic bottles, PVC hardware cloth, coconut coir (fiber extracted from the husk), and a variety of aquatic plants –members of the LQAC constructed two small AFIs. These were placed in the 7th Hole Pond to see how well they would tolerate the environment/conditions. It took some of the plants a few weeks to recover from the shock of transplanting, but now, they appear to be thriving.
In August, LQAC members constructed three additional AFIs, which are approximately ten times larger than the original ones. Lilies, which had previously been planted in soil (around the perimeterof the pond,) were in jeopardy of drying out, due to the receding shoreline. Therefore, they were transplanted into the new AFIs, and they also appear to be thriving.
Moving the lilies into the AFIs will allow relocation as needed and maintenance as required, while providing an aquatic habitat and nutrient filtration. Once established, some of the AFIs may be moved to 4-Island Lake, where they will be monitored in preparation for larger scale projects.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Lake Quality Advisory Committee at email@example.com.