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Environmental Science Program to Launch Floating Wetland at Local Park

May 06, 2014 -

A pond in Lexington is getting an environmental boost from an innovative project this week.

Bluegrass Community College Environmental Science Technology Program is literally launching a project to improve Gainesway Park Pond in Lexington. Several floating wetland islands will be released onto the surface of the pond on Friday, May 9 at 10:00 a.m.

While these wetland islands will be fascinating and pleasant additions to the pond, their main purpose is not aesthetic but functional. Floating wetland islands are water treatment systems that remove pollutants and reduce algae in small bodies of water. Additionally, the islands provide a natural habitat for wildlife such as frogs, turtles and birds.

Community members are invited to watch the launch of the islands at Gainsway Park, 3495 Appian Way, Lexington, KY. Water quality experts will be on hand to answer questions about the project.

These floating islands are a pilot project administered by the Bluegrass Community College Foundation in cooperation with Friends of Wolf Run, LFUCG Divisions of Parks and Recreation, Water Quality and Environmental Policy and several community groups. The pilot project has been generously funded by donations from Battelle ($2000), JHawk Construction ($300), UMAC Services ($200), Eco Grow ($200) and Foam Design Inc. $200)

Once the islands are afloat, Gainesway Pond will be monitored for improved water quality, and the islands will be judged for durability and effectiveness of plant materials. A group of students and judges from the community will monitor the islands’ performance over the summer. Members of the winning island’s team will be designated as “Island Masters.”

Effective island designs may be used in ponds and waterways throughout Lexington’s watersheds.

This pilot project is part Lexington’s Stormwater Quality Management Plan, a comprehensive effort to improve water quality in the Fayette County watersheds. Last June, the first round of floating wetland islands was introduced to McConnell Springs Pond.