Tag Archives: pond management

Floating Island Partners Hard at Work in Midwest! Cool Videos from Minneapolis.

Here are 2 cool videos featuring our working partners in conservation Blue Wing Environmental Solutions & Technologies as they along with Midwest Floating Island and American Society of Landscape Architects show what impacts one group of regular citizens can have on their own water quality issues. These videos are of a Floating Island launch in Minneapolis as part of an effort to help solve a local lakes water quality issues. Contact Patriot LWM or CLICK HERE to learn more about Floating Island Technology!

http://www.kstp.com/article/12303/?vid=2764965&v=1
http://eplayer.clipsyndicate.com/cs_api/iframe?pl_id=16621&page_count=4&wpid=8700&windows=1&show_title=0&va_id=2764965&auto_start=0&auto_next=0

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Hope Floats – Man-made islands create ecosystems to heal polluted rivers

A few years ago, Patriot Land and Wildlife was fortunate to be involved with an innovative water quailty improvement project in Washington, DC on the Anacostia River. Teamed with Bluewing Environmental Solutions and Technologies, Patriot LWM helped install several BioHaven Floating Treatment Wetlands at Diamond Teague Park in DC, with the intention of providing much-needed water quality improvement. These BioHaven islands are capable of removing as many nutrients from the waterbody as 6 acres of natural wetlands.

Diamond Teague is just across the street from the Washington Nationals baseball stadium and is a popular riverside destination for ballpark patrons, among others. The dual functionaility of water quality stewardship and ornamental landscaping allowed for a great project to occur, and lots of attention drawn to the problems suffered by our waterways.  Author Mike Cronin of “The Daily” spotlights the project.

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It turns out that recycled plastic may do more for the environment than just save it from unnecessary garbage. Man-made floating islands constructed from the stuff are helping to revive urban rivers devastated by centuries of industrial pollution.The Anacostia River in Washington, D.C., for example, has been slowly coming back to life, roughly two years after the Maryland-based company Blue Wing Environmental Solutions and Technology anchored seven man-made islands there in an area near Nationals Park, where the Washington Nationals play. Those islands are the brainchild of Bruce and Anne Kania, the married couple who run Floating Islands International in Shepherd, Mont.“We are providing an affordable, doable, non-chemical solution, and people are going, ‘Aha!’ ” said Anne, Floating Islands’ CEO.Bruce realized years ago that wetlands work naturally to clean up pollutants, so the Kanias started mimicking floating ecosystems with recycled fiber from plastic bottles.Just days after the floating islands are placed in the water, a film of bacteria and other microbes forms on the mesh filters and other plastic parts of the fake landmasses, said Bruce, adding that the microbes eat nutrients and form biofilm in the process. Biofilm is the base of periphyton, which is in turn the base of the freshwater food chain. Everything from zooplankton to nymphs and minnows thrive off it.“They clean up the water and take nutrients that otherwise would have turned into algae and turn them into fish food,” said Bruce, who got the idea for the floating islands after observing the natural, peat-based floating islands of northern Wisconsin.“Three years ago, we could see only 14 inches into our 6.5-acre research pond,” he said. “Now, we can see 11 feet into it.”

The Kanias founded their company in 2005. Today they have seven manufacturers worldwide and 4,000 islands in use around the globe. Customers pay roughly $27 per square foot and may order any shape or size of floating island, which can be used in rivers, ponds, lakes and even the ocean.
Kevin Hedge, a wetland scientist and partner at Blue Wing, sees the synthetic islands as more than just a savior to an ailing environment.

“The floating islands are an ecological-restoration tool that also can be an economic-recovery tool,” he said.

Lanshing Hwang, the Maryland landscape architect who designed the island park in Washington, called it “an innovative approach — particularly for places that don’t have wetlands.

By Mike Cronin Saturday – May 21, 2011

Constructing a Future: Wood Duck Boxes and You

Maryland is home to a rich variety of waterfowl species. We’ve all seen Canada geese honking their way from pond to field. Some of them endure the winter migration, and some of them are year-round residents who call Maryland home. Ever seen a wood duck? Well, much is the same with wood ducks, arguably the most beautiful duck native to North America.Wood ducks nest in tree cavities near water and utilize wetlands as their home to raise their young. Unfortunately, as urban sprawl occurs, more and more of these wetlands are being destroyed, limiting the wood duck’s habitat and success in Maryland. Don’t lose faith. A lot is being done to bring the population back to where it once existed. You can become part of the effort too, and it doesn’t take much.

Wood ducks suffered a serious decline in the late 19th century for a variety of reasons, including habitat loss and market hunting for their meat and plumage.  Because of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, market hunting was ended and measures were enacted to protect remaining habitat. Wood duck populations began to rebound in the 1920s, and the development of the artificial nesting box and its implementation by Federal and State governments and local wildlife enthusiasts in the 1930s began providing an additional boost to wood duck production. The hope was that the ducks would utilize the “cavity” characteristic of the boxes to nest. The ducks did, and they made an astounding comeback. Nesting sites are only half the battle, though. Woods ducks also require wetland habitat that provides them with shelter, food, and protection from predators. If you have a wooded stream or pond on your property or if you live along a Chesapeake Bay shore with woods nearby (which is alot of you!), you may be able to attract wood ducks simply by constructing a nest box.

Building a wood duck box is simple, inexpensive, and there are plenty of plans you can find online that detail designs, placement, etc. Do your homework.
The Maryland Wood Duck Initiative, an all-volunteer effort,  aims “to enhance Maryland’s wood duck population and to generate a greater appreciation of the wetland habitats in which they live by advocating and demonstrating the merits of a “best practices” approach in managed nest programs.” State agencies like the Department of Natural Resources, conservation organizations like Ducks Unlimited, and companies like Patriot LWM are other important resources for anything wood duck related and are more than happy to  provide you with information and help develop your wood duck plan.

So, now for some more timely information. What are wood ducks doing right now in Maryland? Wood ducks nest from April to June, so right now is a great time to get your nesting boxes built, or cleaned out if you already have boxes (if you’re anything like me, you’re tired of being cooped up in the house and are itching for a reason to get outside and do something).  Add a few inches of wood shavings (don’t use sawdust because it can suffocate the ducklings) for nesting material, attach the boxes to poles (don’t forget the predator guards!), and place them around forested areas near the water for when they arrive. You’ve now become a part of the effort! The rest is up to the ducks.

A few professional tips:

  • Females often search for a nesting site early in the mornings; therefore try to face the opening of the box towards the east so the opening is more visible from morning rays of sunlight.
  • Try to avoid facing the opening towards the prevailing wind for the area as this will cause undo stress on the nesting birds.
  • Limit the amount of underbrush under the boxes to reduce predator access to the poles.

 If a wood duck finds your box suitable for laying eggs, in about 1 month 9-12 eggs will hatch and, within 24 hours, the ducklings will use their sharp claws to climb to the nest box entrance and fall to the ground or water.  Once on the ground, the female will lead the ducklings to the nearest body of water (they won’t come back to the nest, don’t take it personally). Wood duck young can fly in about 60 days from hatching; meanwhile, their mother looks after them and protects them from harm*courtesy of Maryland DNR*.  It’s always a good idea to check your nesting boxes once during the nesting season to clean them out and add new nesting material. Besides doing some housekeeping, a visit during the nesting season will show if your nesting boxes have been productive and improve the odds of the box being used again during the season.

So there you have it. You made an effort and it didn’t take much, did it? Enjoy the feeling that comes from conservation, and share it with a child – they are our future conservationists. And every time you catch a glimpse of a wood duck’s beautiful iridescent plumage or hear their unmistakable “ooo-eeekk” squeal echo through the woods or across the water, consider it a “Thanks.”

If you’d like to get a fully assembled wood duck box and predator guard contact Patriot LWM at 240-687-7228.

Leave it to Beavers? When is Enough Damage, Enough

It’s no surprise anymore that we share our communities with a variety of wildlife. Suburban development and population increases are constantly displacing wildlife to new areas, which may include your property or community. Whitetail deer are almost always at the forefront of suburban fringe wildlife complaints, but what about beavers? What’s their deal?
Beavers can be a mixed blessing.
To some, beavers are seen as beneficial neighbors due to their instinctive activities which improve habitat for other wildlife by creating natural wetlands and increasing biodiversity through that habitat modification. But to others, beavers are considered a damaging nuisance due to their felling of trees for feeding and dam construction. Under severe cases, their habits have an inverse effect on their habitat creation skills, causing destruction of the local wildlife habitat and negatively impacting local species. It is important to understand what the beavers in question are doing, how they will affect your area in the future, and what you want to do about it, if anything. Defining your idea of success is of utmost importance in the design of any wildlife management program.
As wildlife managers, our success depends on gaining accurate information from the site, including your objectives. Would success in your mind be limited to simply preventing beavers from cutting down your apple orchard or other individual target species? Or do you want to also prevent them from damming the pond, creeks, and culverts in your community? In some instances it may be an easy decision when lack of attention to these actions could lead to flooding of the area, road washouts, and other habitat damage from a simple rain event. Other times the lines are not so clear.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself –

  • What exactly are you trying to stop or prevent?
  • Can any level of beaver activity be tolerated at the site?
  • Do you want the beavers to stay or leave the site?
  • What management techniques would you prefer to implement?

Based on the answers to these questions and others, we can begin to develop a comprehensive strategy for your individual property and work towards managing the beavers at hand.

Sharing our communities with wildlife will always require a balancing act, as it should be when the name of the game is management. By identifying your concerns and preferences, while understanding the beaver’s biology, you can successfully begin to manage the animal and their home; in harmony with your home!
In future blog articles we will dig a little deeper into the specifics of this issue and some options on corrective actions. See you soon!