As part of a programme of wildlife habitat improvements in the Royal Parks, a large floating wetland island has been built on the Serpentine Lake in London’s Hyde Park.
Last Spring, ecologists and landscapers worked with Salix River & Wetland Services Ltd to install a 200m2 island in the southern lake to clean the lake’s water naturally by creating an area where good bacteria can thrive, whilst providing erosion control and important new nesting areas for water birds, habitat and food for fish.
Julia Clark, Head of Ecology at The Royal Parks, explains:
“Across all eight Royal Parks, improving water quality of our lakes is an ongoing priority to protect the wildlife that make it their home. Reducing pollutants in the water caused by rotting bread and other toxins is no easy feat, however this floating island on the Serpentine will help to improve the water quality in a chemical free way and provide habitat and food for a variety of wildlife including insects, waterfowl and amphibians.”
Made from recycled plastic materials, including plastic bottles, the BioHaven floating island has been planted with native aquatic plants. Ecologist Leela O’Dea, who is working with Salix, explains:
“BioHaven floating islands mimic the environmental benefits of wetlands in the natural world. They provide a healthy habitat for the whole aquatic food chain.
At the bottom of the chain, microscopic organisms will build-up naturally, becoming a biofilm on the surface of the island, cleaning the water and providing food for the zooplankton, micro and macro invertebrates like dragonfly nymphs and snails, and further up the chain, food for the fish. And the island’s vegetation creates important nesting areas and feeding opportunities for insects like bees and butterflies, and water birds, like coots, moorhens, grebes and swans.”
Over 5,000 BioHavens have already been successfully installed in lakes, reservoirs, docks, rivers and estuaries across the world. Royal Parks are leading the way in applying this innovative and sustainable freshwater technology in the UK.
David Holland, Technical Director for Salix, says:
“Salix believes in finding sustainable solutions to wetland habitat restoration projects. We are delighted to add BioHaven to our arsenal and commend the Royal Parks for their commitment to sustainability and readiness to explore new initiatives.”