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Floating Island in China Pond creating Habitat Restoration

Check out our latest Conservation Habitat in the China Pond located in the China Exhibit. In June 2012, the Water Quality and Horticulture Departments collaborated on a Habitat Restoration within the China Pond. A Floating Island made up of four parts and connected through hidden cables was covered with Peat Moss and planted with a pallet of perennials. 

 Purpose of the Floating Island
The purpose of the floating island was to use plant material that would reduce sediments floating in the pond. It also provides habitat for the wildlife enjoying the pond such as ducks, turtles, and frogs. Now the Water Quality Department is able to clean the pool less because of the root systems reducing the sediments.   

Plant Materials Chosen
 The perennials we chose for the island were elephant ears, creeping jenny, iris, acoris, Mexican petunias and cannas.   

 The Floating Island Product
 The Floating Island is a product of MartinEcosystems. On their website is a small excerpt of what their product is made of. “All of our products are manufactured using a nontoxic non-woven matrix that is made from post consumer recycled Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic drinking bottles. This environmentally-friendly process prevents millions of bottles from going into landfills, a strong testament of our commitment to improving and protecting our environment.”   

How the System Works
The Floating Treatment Wetlands use the science of phytoremediation. The roots remove pollutants and provide a reservoir for nutrients. The MartinEcosystems website describes the system as follows: “The floating island matrix, with its dense fibers and porous texture, is the perfect surface area for growing large amounts of microbes (in the form of biofilm) in a short time. Nutrients circulating in the water come into contact with these biofilms and are consumed by them, while a smaller fraction is taken up by plant roots. Suspended solids slough off into the benthic zone below the island. Organic solids stick to the biofilms and become the base of the freshwater food web.”   

Maintenance of the Floating Island
Our Horticulture Team can be seen throughout the summer visiting the island. They weed any undesirable plant material that has blown in and deadhead the plants at the end of the season.  The Water Quality Team checks the anchors of the island several times throughout the season. (It may not look like it is floating, but it is…like Sea Star Island, the floating island in Dr Doolittle.)

Enjoy your next visit at the Memphis Zoo. Stop and look at our Floating Island in the China pond exhibit.      

Posted by Zoo Info at 2:35 PM

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