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Floating Wetlands An emerging green technology for restoring Seattle’s waterfront wetlands


Who we are Nancy Rottle - Director, University of Washington Green Futures Research and Design Lab Mason Bowles - Senior Ecologist, Ecological Restoration and Engineering Services Section, King County Water and Land Resources Division Matt MacDonald - Student, UW Masters of Landscape Architecture Program; Staff Member, UW Green Futures Lab


Floating Wetlands presentation outline • 

What are floating wetlands?

• 

Why do they matter?

• 

How do they work?

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Where are they already?

• 

How is UW involved?

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Where could they be in Seattle?


What are floating wetlands? Constructed ecosystems that mimic naturally occurring wetlands In some cases, they are naturally occurring wetlands, e.g. bogs

naturalhighsafaris.com biomatrixwater.com


What are floating wetlands? Constructed ecosystems that mimic naturally occurring wetlands

Floating Island International


British Library


Hicklin Lake,  West  Sea0le    

Photo: Matt MacDonald


Native wetland plants

Growing media

Floating frame or foam mat

Andrea Haynes


•  Can be configured to existing aquatic urban environments

•  Sequester carbon •  Improve water quality •  Create habitat

•  Tolerate fluctuating water levels

Andrea Haynes


Why do floating wetlands matter? • 

Because they improve water quality and provide habitat

• 

Can be  configured  to  exis:ng  aqua:c  urban  environments    

• 

Scalable and cost effective


Khalil Bendib


naturalhighsafaris.com

UW Atmospheric Sciences Laboratory


Elevated water temperatures • 

Increase duration of thermal stratification in Lakes Washington and Sammamish.

• 

Upper surface water warms sooner in the spring and stays warmer longer into the fall.


Elevated water temperatures •  Exert a major influence on biological activity and growth affecting phytoplankton biomass, nutrients and dissolved oxygen. •  Influences water chemistry, increasing rate of chemical reactions.


Coho pre-spawn mortality

Longfellow Creek 2003

Des Moines Creek 2004

Longfellow Creek 2005

Piper’s Creek 2006


AP / KOMO News


images.51cto.com


What are the benefits of floating wetlands? •  Water quality improvement •  Habitat restoration •  Shoreline protection •  Beautification •  Climate adaptation and mitigation


Water Quality Improvement

Floating Island International


Biofiltration: Water Quality Improvement Floating wetlands: •  Reduce total suspended solids (turbidity) •  Reduce total phosphorous •  Reduce ammonia •  Reduce total nitrogen •  Reduce bio-chemical oxygen demand (BOD) •  Remove heavy metals Referencestinyurl.com/FloatingWetlandsSeattle


Plant and Insect Habitat

pichost.me/1620939/ Â


Fish Habitat

Floating Island International


Wildlife Habitat

Floating Island International


Shoreline Protection

Floating Island International


Climate Adaptation and Mitigation

Floating Island International


Beautification

Turenscape


How do floating wetlands work?


The Sequestration Pathways - Upward Carbon is sequestered in terrestrial plant growth on top of the islands


The Sequestration Pathways - Downward Carbon is sequestered in roots and organic debris accumulating below the islands


The Sequestration Pathways - Inward Carbon is sequestered in roots and microbes growing within the islands


Floa:ng Wetlands Improve  ecosystem  func:on  and  habitat    via  food  web   transforma:ons move  nutrients  away  from  phytoplankton  and  toward  fish create  aqua:c  invertebrate  habitat

har:es.org.za


tinyurl.com/FloatingWetlandsSeattle


Where are floating wetlands already in use?


Worldwide Distribution


Yingri Lake, Jinan, China

Floating Island International


Queensland, Australia

SPEL Environmental


Louisiana Gulf Coast

Floating Island International


Baltimore Harbor

The Waterfront Partnership, photo by Adam Lindquist


Baltimore Harbor Proposal


San Francisco

Andrea Haynes


Opportunities Study

Andrea Haynes


Hicklin Lake, West Seattle

Photo: Matt MacDonald


How is the University of Washington involved with floating wetlands?


Green Futures Lab


MacDonald Floating Wetlands Thesis, Redmond, WA (in progress)


Thesis Goals sampler

•  Design floating wetlands to mimic a greater array of wetland conditions and habitats •  Test Pacific Northwest plants •  Design FWs for lasting nutrient and carbon storage


Redmond, WA


First Prototype

Matt MacDonald


Shoreline Edge

Matt MacDonald


Emergent Vegetation

Matt MacDonald


Fully Submerged

Matt MacDonald


Fully Submerged

Matt MacDonald


Fully Submerged

Matt MacDonald


Overhanging Canopy

Matt MacDonald


Overhanging Canopy

Matt MacDonald


Overhanging Canopy

Matt MacDonald


PNW Plant Species

~30 species used to date

Matt MacDonald


Lasting Nutrient Storage

harties.za.org

Matt MacDonald


Lasting Nutrient Storage

Matt MacDonald


“Oh, Hello!”

Matt MacDonald


Where could floating wetlands be placed in Seattle? •  147 miles of fresh water shoreline •  53 miles of salt water shoreline •  200 miles of shoreline in total •  58 sq. miles of open water


a few ideas...

Matt MacDonald


Urban Shorelines

Past

Present

Future Matt MacDonald


Fremont Cut Proposal

Matt MacDonald


depts.washington.edu/wet/ Â


ToO et  al.  2010    


Why do floating wetlands matter? • 

Provide wetland functions, structures and processes

• 

Can be  configured  to  exis:ng  aqua:c  urban  environments    

• 

Scalable and cost effective


“The best way to predict your future is to create it.” -Abraham Lincoln


How can we help you integrate floating wetlands into Seattle? How can you help us?


Questions? Nancy Rottle Assoc. Professor, Director of Green Futures Lab nrottle@uw.edu Mason Bowles Professional Wetland Scientist masonbbowles@gmail.com Matt MacDonald floating wetlands enthusiast macdon.matt@gmail.com tinyurl.com/FloatingWetlandsSeattle (lots of links and other goodies!)


What do floating wetlands cost?* •  Foam matrix - $40+ / sq. ft. •  Redmond Prototypes- $1-14 / sq. ft. *not including costs of design, permitting, maintenance, and monitoring


Matt MacDonald


Matt MacDonald


Matt MacDonald


Matt MacDonald


Matt MacDonald


Overhanging Canopy

Matt MacDonald

Profile for UW Green Futures Research and Design Lab

Green Futures Lab: Floating Wetlands for Seattle  

A presentation of the potential role of floating wetland infrastructure along Seattle's waterways. It addresses how these structures work a...

Green Futures Lab: Floating Wetlands for Seattle  

A presentation of the potential role of floating wetland infrastructure along Seattle's waterways. It addresses how these structures work a...

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