Floating Islands are not:
• invented by man…
Floating Islands are mimicry of a naturally occurring phenomenon! Nature has created Floating Islands to maintain itself in a healthy state of being.
The German company BGS (Bestmann-Green-Systems®) has been developing their floating systems since the 90ies. More and more application challenges have
systematically optimized the product range. Pont de Vie is the exclusive distributor for BGS in Canada.
Main Purpose of Floating Systems
The main purpose of floating systems is to clean a water body. Cleaning the water body means to take excess nutriments effectively and permanently out of the water column.
The amount of time required to do this varies according to the volume and condition of the water, the maturity of the island’s plants, the extent of active bio-film, and other
Floating systems will not eliminate algae directly. The synergy of plants and micro-organisms does the job: micro-organisms/biofilm are able to sequester the nutrients out of
the water column faster than algae; and algae starve in the wake. This procedure is more advantageous than chemical fight against algae for it leaves no dead algae behind – what
would later become more nutriments.
Floating systems roughly work like this:
1. Micro-organisms colonize the matrix of the island, as well as the root and rhizome system, – creating the biofilm -, and take nutriments out of the water.
2. Phosphates and nitrates pass through the metabolism or the micro-organisms and are thus transformed into an ‘easier digestible form’.
3. The transformed nutriments are deposited directly on the roots of the plants.
4. The plants take them in and build with them the biomass above the water level: leafs and stems
5. The biomass is harvested; taking the excess nutriments effectively and permanently out of the water.
Types of Floating systems
According to site specific considerations and main purpose of the floating system, we offer three distinct types:
1. AquaGreen®Floating Rafts (FF type)
2. AquaGreen®Floating Blankets (SRD type)
3. AquaGreen®Floating Islands (SK type)
1. To enhance ecological water conditions
2. Biological, completely chemical-free water sanitization for fountains (in parks) and eco pools
3. Divisions in EcoPools between swimming area and regeneration area
4. Create floating separations between different areas of usage
5. Establish linear connections between different floating systems
6. Purification of process-waters (cooling water or carwash water purification)
7. Create oil- and sediment-traps in retention basins
8. To naturalize vertical retaining walls in rivers, urban channels, overflows, marinas and harbors
9. Facilitate entry of animals into the water body
10. Create small biotopes for a multitude of living beings like invertebrates, insects, amphibians or birds
11. Vegetation of retention basins and retention pools with high fluctuation in water level
12. Creation of reed belts along steep banks (quarry lakes, mining lakes etc)
13. Creation of horizontal banks; no need for costly solid construction and land-fill
14. Design of water banks for artificial water bodies where natural vegetation is not possible (too steep, no niches, too much exposure to wave erosion)
15. Wave diffusion and wave dampening in areas of boat traffic (recreation lakes, water ski, marinas…)
16. Creation of ecological educational wetlands in urban spaces
17. Substitute for missing living spaces
18. Diminishing sediment and pollutant entry
19. Creation of shade above shallow water areas to diminish/prevent overheating of the water during hot summer months
20. Shadowing for spawning areas for fish, protection of young fish
21. Raising the attractivity of constructions, walls, retaining walls, weirs etc
22. Covering of drinking water reserves to limit pollutant entries (i.e. bird waste)
23. Covering of waste water tanks to diminish bad smell and accelerate nutriment elimination
The roots of the plants on a floating system create a very extensive surface for colonization. Each square meter can yield up to 120m² bio-effective surfaces. This root-sphere serves as a colonization surface for the microorganisms.
Phosphates and nitrates are taken out of the water column by different types of bacteria: Phosphates are taken out of the water by aerobic bacteria (that need oxygen to do their work) and nitrates by anaerobic bacteria (that do not need oxygen). Polluted and eutrophic water bodies typically are poor in dissolved oxygen. To be able to cultivate biofilm that accommodates the two types of bacteria, we place an aeration system below one part of the floating system: the rising bubble stream moves oxygen poor and nutrient rich cold water up to the roots; the air bubbles dissolve oxygen into the water so that the aerobic bacteria can thrive. The other part of the island only gets the water movement created by the air bubbles without the air bubbles which is convenient for the anaerobic bacteria.
The absorption of heavy metals varies according the plant species: some incorporate these pollutants in their roots, some in their leafs. The floating system does give for the first time the possibility to harvest not only the leafs but also the roots to finally take the
heavy metals permanently out of the water.
Research of the biofilm installed on the root-sphere (inter-rhizome) has given us important data about the heterotrophic biofilm (An organism that requires organic substrates to get its carbon for growth and development). In contrast to the control group of free water we could count an increase of 5000 individuals per cm². Here a list for the counts per species of microorganisms:
Numbers are counts of individuals per cm²:
Vorticella campanula 3780
Epistylis entzii 859
Actina tuberosa 212
Brachionus urceolaris 103
Cephalodella foficula 42
Limnias ceratophylli 35
Floating systems and Wildlife
AquaGreen® systems contribute significantly to the habitat diversity of an ecosystem, both physically and in terms of plant species. Habitat diversity naturally generates wildlife diversity. Frogs lay egg masses at the edges of islands, turtles haul out onto stepping stones to bask and goldfinches land to drink water from a puddle. Aquatic invertebrates live among the plant roots providing more food for fish. At the same time, they feed on algae, doing their part to keep water clear. Many aquatic invertebrates are the nymphs of flying insects such as mayflies and damselflies.
As the floating system becomes home to an expanded variety of life – literally thousands of species of microbe and fauna, from damselfly nymphs to leopard frogs – your pond or waterway will become more resilient. It will have more capacity to handle disruptions. It won’t be immune to trauma, but it will be more able to adapt and sustain its basic equilibrium.
You can influence wildlife use by the way you plant, locate and manage your island. If your goal is to provide nesting habitat for ducks or other waterfowl, we offer an island with a dry zone for nesting. Conversely, we have ways of discouraging waterfowl species if they aren’t desirable to have in your waterway.
Floating systems and Climatic Conditions
AquaGreen® systems have also an influence on the climatic conditions of a water body: they keep shallow water zones cool, slow down the speed of water currents (erosion protection) and dampen wave actions. Floating systems are a multi-functional product with a very high lifetime and almost no maintenance.
Prior to installation we fix the pre-vegetated Armaflor®Rollsods onto the floating mats; soon the plants will create a root matrix inside the supports and under. The root matrix of Carex acutiformis has yielded root lengths of 882m per liter (10,000ft per gal); this means a total of root length of 250km per m² (7,600ft per ft²).
Floating systems and Waves
The particular way of construction achieves maximum solidity without compromising flexibility and the ability to adapt to the water surface and its movements.
Depending on the type of waves, we have reached average results of 30-80% wave dampening action. The actual wave attenuation degree depends on many factors, amongst others the depth and kind of water body. Another factor is the length of the floating system in relationship to the length of the waves. Floating systems can be combined to reach very large lengths; we supply special anchoring loops for this purpose.
The maximal size of a floating system will be determined by the size of the water body, the purpose of the island, the conditions of the water and the wind and the choice of