Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 57

FLOATING A NEW IDEA | UNE NOUVELLE IDÉE

...the bioplatform technology
is now sufficiently mature
that commercial applications
could begin.

DR. GORDON GOLDSBOROUGH

be grown hydroponically. The initial concept was tested on
small versions of the platforms in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016
in small water bodies at FortWhyte Alive [a nature, wildlife
refuge and education centre in Winnipeg] that were subject to
eutrophication.
We encountered problems with herbivory by birds and
muskrats, and insect infestations, and modified the bioplatform
design accordingly. We feel that the technology is now
sufficiently mature that commercial applications could begin
and we are presently preparing a scientific paper on the results.
SS: How do floating wetlands compare to traditional
wetland restoration/planting techniques?
GG: There has not been a quantitative evaluation [but] my view
is that the floating wetlands are preferred for environments
where planting is not possible, such as in water too deep
for vegetation establishment or where it is not desirable to
develop permanent vegetation cover. (The platforms are
capable of being moved.)
The biggest limitation of the floating wetlands is that they
are intensely susceptible to herbivory and wave action: both
factors must be acknowledged in a commercial setting. I am
hopeful that making the bioplatforms much larger and more
numerous at a deployment site would make them much less
prone to herbivory because it would enlarge the "target."
SS: Do you grow Typha exclusively?
GG: Typha spp. are ideal because they are rapidly growing,
robust, and produce abundant biomass that can be used
for biofuel or other co-benefits. It is possible that, under
different environmental conditions, other species may be
acceptable substitutes.
The platforms...facilitate the harvesting process needed to truly
recapture the nutrients sequestered by the plants. In essence,
the cattails [on the bioplatform] can be brought to the harvester
[and the bioplatform] returned to the environment for further
growth. Otherwise, plants used in traditional planting would

require a mobile, amphibious harvester which is logistically more
complex and, I suspect, more costly.
SS: Were you able to quantify how effective the system has
proven to be in terms of its ability to mitigate the effects
of eutrophication?
One of the aspects of the research project was to assess
whether or not the cattails could remove enough phosphorus
from the water below the bioplatform on which they are
growing. We found that we would have to have considerably
more bioplatforms than used in our test project but the
number was reasonable. To see measurable decreases in
phosphorus concentration in the water, we estimated that less
than 15 percent of the lakes we were studying would have to be
covered with bioplatforms.
SS: Could these platforms be used to educate Manitobans, as
I hoped in my thesis work some five years ago?
GG: The bioplatforms could be deployed, for example, at
sites such as FortWhyte Alive and along the reaches of the
Assiniboine and Red Rivers where it would be easy to bring
them to the attention of schools on field trips.
SS: What other technologies have potential to spur new
breakthroughs for Lake Winnipeg, or in water management
generally? Drones?
GG: Drones will be great for wetland and small lake monitoring
and I see enormous potential there over the coming years. But
high-resolution satellite imagery is the way to go for largelake monitoring, in my view. There are increasing capabilities
for remotely-sensed data acquisition from such sources as
LandSat and other orbiting satellites. These give us a lakewide picture of eutrophication that is, I think, more viscerally
impressive and detailed than any spot measurements of
phosphorus or chlorophyll in the lake itself.
Author's note: For research conducted in the Pacific
Northwest (architecture thesis by Matthew MacDonald,
University of Washington), go to: bit.ly/FloatingWetlands.

WINTER | HIVER 2017 57


http://www.bit.ly/FloatingWetlands

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Landscapes - Winter 2017

To Begin With
Une Dernière Salve
Collaborateurs
Writers
Upfront
Prologue
La Vague
Romance of the Stone
La Pierre Romancée
Numériser La Nature
Riding Technology’s Wild Interface
Flooding Fields
Conversation
Designing Invisible Landscapes
Stacking Up - the LA’s Toolkit: A Groundhog Plugin for Grasshopper
Grasshopper Gagne Un Plugiciel
Wood Works
Floating a New Idea for Water Stewardship
LACF
Bourses De La FACP
Critique
Parting Shot
Une Dernière Salve
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - INTRO
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - cover1
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - cover2
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 3
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 4
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 5
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 6
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 7
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Une Dernière Salve
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 9
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Writers
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 11
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 12
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 13
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 14
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Prologue
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 16
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 17
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 18
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 19
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - La Vague
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 21
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - La Pierre Romancée
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 23
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 24
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 25
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 26
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 27
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Riding Technology’s Wild Interface
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 29
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 30
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 31
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 32
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Flooding Fields
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 34
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 35
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Conversation
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 37
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 38
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 39
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 40
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 41
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 42
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Designing Invisible Landscapes
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 44
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 45
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Grasshopper Gagne Un Plugiciel
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 47
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 48
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 49
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 50
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 51
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Wood Works
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 53
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Floating a New Idea for Water Stewardship
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 55
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 56
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 57
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 58
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Bourses De La FACP
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 60
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 61
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Critique
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 63
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 64
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 65
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 66
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 67
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 68
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 69
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 70
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 71
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 72
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 73
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 74
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 75
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 76
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - Une Dernière Salve
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - 78
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - cover3
Landscapes - Winter 2017 - cover4
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