Volunteers to install new floating wetlands in Green Lake

A group of volunteers will be installing two floating wetlands at Green Lake on Saturday

The Friends of Green Lake (FOGL) are organizing the wetland installation, happening on May 28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the west side of Green Lake, close to Duck Island.

The goal of the floating wetlands is to restore aquatic habitats in urban waters. FOGL has named the project the Taiga Wetlands in honor of Taiga Hinckley who worked at the Greenlake Boathouse Center. Hinckley passed in 2018 during an evening paddle on the lake, and his family donated to FOGL in his memory.

FOGL decided that the floating wetland project would “best represent Taiga’s interest in protecting lake water quality and wildlife habitat,” FOGL writes on their website.

Using funds from the donation and a Seattle Neighborhoods Matching Fund grant, FOGL ordered wetland modules from Scotland.

According to FOGL, floating wetlands are “engineered, vegetated rafts made of natural or inert materials that mimic floating bog mats. Root systems of the planted vegetation extend deep into the water and become covered with a biofilm comprised of a variety of microbes (algae, bacteria, fungi, and protozoans).”

Example of floating wetland | FOGL

The floating bogs create a habitat for both fish and wildlife, and are especially useful in urban water bodies lacking natural shoreline vegetation.

From FOGL:

Small fish seek refuge from predators and feed extensively on insects and other invertebrates that populate the underlying biofilm. Floating wetlands can be designed for waterfowl access using ramps, or for waterfowl exclusion using perimeter netting to protect planted vegetation and/or using plant species that are not a preferred waterfowl food source. Recent innovative designs include submerged platforms to create shallow water habitat above the plant matrix for juvenile salmonid rearing and optimum habitat for native bulrush species and other emergent vegetation historically used by Native Americans.