Kootenai Environmental Alliance volunteers launched two Floating Treatment Wetlands into McLean’s Bay on Hayden Lake at the close of September. With the support of McLean’s Bay homeowners, KEA is piloting this new technology to improve water quality conditions in the bay.
The Hayden Lake Project, which launched in 2009 and operates under the direction of Kootenai Environmental Alliance (KEA), conducts water quality research in and
around Hayden Lake. Utilizing new technologies and science-backed methods that are well proven to help clean up polluted water in other parts of the world, but are new in our neck of the woods; this pilot project focuses on improving water quality conditions in Hayden Lake and making its struggling fishery pristine again (without using herbicides, weed mats, and other short-term treatments that address only the lake’s symptoms while ignoring their underlying causes).
Karen Hayes says, “The floating wetlands are a very exciting approach to the problems facing our lakes, streams, rivers, and fisheries. Of course we need to get tough with the factors that are causing so much pollution to enter the waters. That’s a must. But until now, the only efforts to deal with the nutrients that have already poured in, have focused only on the symptoms — herbicides and mats to suppress the weeds, chemicals and restrictions to keep the algae blooms from causing health catastrophes, large scale stocking to boost the declining fishery, more chemical treatments to help mask the cloudy water and the smell. All those efforts are expensive, and they are of questionable safety and efficacy, especially in the long-term. But when conducted as a seasonal cycle, with fish production and harvest , the floating wetlands approach can improve water quality and boost the fishery without chemicals and without worry about some unexpected side effect popping up years down the road.”
The ultimate goal: to share what the project learns in Hayden Lake with other area lakes. These manmade floating islands planted with sod and native wetland plants can be nearly 200 times more powerful than natural wetlands, acting as natural bioprocessors that convert excess phosphorus and other pollutants in our surface waters into something good: natural fish food.KEA volunteers planting wetland mat with native wetland plants
Water quality monitoring will be ongoing to assess the technology’s effectiveness. This project is funded by donations made from the community, as well as, the Clifbar Foundation and the Cadeau Foundation.
“We appreciate your dedication to Hayden Lake and that you put your passion into action. On behalf of McLean’s Bay, thank you for your hard work on this effort. It was a pleasure to participate with such an enthusiastic team.” ~Diane Lawrence, McLean’s Bay Homeowner
Click here if you are interested in getting a floating wetland for your dock area.