Three floating wetlands have been installed at Maiden Lake in Fernie by Elk River Alliance (ERA) volunteers as part of the ERA’s Stormwater Solutions program, which is intended to raise awareness about stormwater and looks at ways to improve the water released into the Elk River.
Volunteers planted native sedges, rushes and cattails onto floating platforms with the aim being for the plants to grow over the platform and clean the water.
According to the ERA the roots of these plants will eventually grow through the platforms and act as a filter to remove excess nutrients, sediment, contaminants and pathogens from the water. The platforms are also meant to provide habitat to wildlife.
The installation of these platforms is a pilot program and if proven successful, the ERA and the City of Fernie will expand the program to other stormwater ponds in town.
Maiden Lake acts as a retention pond for water from the golf course and nearby stormwater catchments and can hold 58,000 cubic meters of water before it releases it to the Elk River.
According to the ERA this will allow time for water quality to improve before going into the river.
The project is funded by Columbia Basin Trust, Habit Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF)’s Public Conservation Assistance Fund, TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and the BC government’s Healthy Watersheds Initiative.
The ERA thanked Paul Vanderpyl for donating his time, water safety expertise and use of his personal raft for the installation of the islands.
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