Editor’s note: The following is a News Brief from the City of Tempe and did not appear in the print edition of Wrangler News.
Selleh Park floating islands could improve water quality, create wildlife habitat
The pond at Selleh Park is now home to four floating islands that could help improve water quality without the use of chemicals. The experiment is one of nine Innovation Fund projects designed to inspire new ideas to improve the Tempe community.
Floating islands occur naturally in water bodies across the world. Mimicking them in park lakes and ponds can provide a natural method to improve water quality, provide safe habitats for existing park wildlife, and attract new types of wildlife to the park.
The floating islands act as a filter in the water, providing a surface for microbes and good bacteria, which pull pollutants from the water. The newly created ecosystem also provides a habitat for plants and other wildlife, as well as shade and cooler water that will help the pond’s fish thrive.
City staff will be analyzing the islands through June 2019 to gauge their effectiveness at cleaning the water, and to understand the amount of maintenance required to keep the islands healthy. If the $7,000 pilot project is successful, more floating islands could be used at Selleh and other Tempe parks. Selleh Park is located near McClintock Drive and Broadway Road.
The Alameda Meadows Neighborhood Association applied for and received funding from the Innovation Fund for the floating islands. More than 30 neighborhood volunteers helped to install them this fall. Within a few days, the pond ducks and turtles were already exploring the newest additions to their home.
The Innovation Fund was created by the Tempe City Council in 2017. A total of $500,000 was awarded to nine innovative, community-improving projects through the fund. Scientists, community groups and non-profits competed for a portion of the funds.