What, Why, How and Who of Floating Reed Beds
Floating reed beds are rafts of vegetation used in bodies of water to treat water quality issues. Councils across South East Queensland are trialling the success of such devices and the concept is proving successful especially as it comes with many other benefits.
The primary purpose of artificial floating reed beds is to improve water quality through biofiltration, preventing algal blooms through denitrification and plant nutrient uptake and the secondary purpose is to provide habitat for wildlife. They are also:
- Aesthetically pleasing for local residents and tourists
- Environmentally friendly
There are lots of elements to consider in the research and development, implementation and maintenance of Floating Reed Beds. At Technigro, we invest lots of time up front in the research of the various materials and structures that will support the best possible outcomes. Buoyancy is a critical outcome to the success of the rafts. This can be achieved by using floatation foam or plastic containing air voids. The internal layers can consist of coconut fibre, mats made of polyester or recycled bottles, synthetic geotechnical mats, open cell polyurethane foam, jute, soil and sand. Additional elements may be added that accumulate pollutants.
We create prototypes to ensure productivity when the crews go to site to install them. Below is an example of a Floating Reed Bed ready to go out on the water.
Once the concept is designed, trialed and produced, specialist crews are equipped with the right equipment and native plants to install them into place. The crews go out in canoes to harness the floating reed beds in place as can be seen in the image below:
The plants used in the beds are all aquatic natives. Below the crews are planting Myriophyllum crispatum and Bacopa monniera.
In some instances the secondary benefit, to provide habitat for local fauna, can also be a problem too as they eat and destroy the flora. The team at Technigro can create mini tree guards in order to protect the plants, which can be seen in the picture below:
In the instance that these do not work, a cage can be installed temporarily (as seen below) to allow the plants to imbed their root system.
Highly skilled and trained ecosystem restoration specialists with the appropriate qualifications. A team of at least 3 work together to set the sites up and maintain the reed beds on a scheduled basis. Stay tuned for a case study from the Natural Areas team on several floating reed bed projects they are currently working on.