Floating island launched in Vancouver's Trout Lake meant to improve water quality

·2 min read
The new 60-square-metre floating island was launched in two sections, assembled in Vancouver's Trout Lake, outfitted with a fence, and rowed away from shore on Monday.  (Rafferty Baker/CBC - image credit)
The new 60-square-metre floating island was launched in two sections, assembled in Vancouver's Trout Lake, outfitted with a fence, and rowed away from shore on Monday. (Rafferty Baker/CBC - image credit)

Trout Lake in East Vancouver is often among the first places in the city to be closed to swimmers each year because of poor water quality — namely E. coli.

It's a scenic, small lake in John Hendry Park that's popular with locals, as well as ducks and geese.

On Monday, the Vancouver Park Board launched a floating island into the lake with the goal of increasing biodiversity and helping with water quality.

"Trout Lake is an example of a body of water that suffers a lot — often not good quality water, so it's hopeful that by using this floating island of growth in the middle of the lake it will help to restore and rejuvenate the water," said Gwen Giesbrecht, vice-chair of the park board.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC

Giesbrecht explained that the native plant species, including sedges and rushes, will improve filtration in the lake, as well as aeration and circulation of the water. The plants' roots will grow down through the raft's soil and coconut coir, making their way into the water.

"I'm excited to watch it grow. I live in this neighbourhood, so I can come down whenever I like and see how the planted island is working out," she said.

David Finnis also lives in the neighbourhood. He was one of dozens of volunteers who, along with park board staff, constructed the floating island and muscled it into the water in two sections.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC

"They've got these plants that will be able to absorb all the nutrients through the water," said Finnis. "They will basically take out some of the pollutants and some of the other things that are in there and purify the water and hopefully that makes it so that we have a longer swimming season."

According to Finnis, the swimming season usually lasts about a month.

The 60-square-metre raft has been outfitted with a fence designed to prevent geese from taking up residence on the new habitat. Other birds are welcome, according to the park board.

Rafferty Baker/CBC
Rafferty Baker/CBC
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