LIMA — Five summer interns helped the Allen Soil and Water Conservation District develop new floating wetlands that are being tested in Faurot Park for the next year.
The goal of the wetlands is to reduce excess nutrients within the pond system, according to Stormwater Manager Jim Morrisey.
“The initiative was a joint effort between the City of Lima and the Allen Soil and Water Conservation District and is designed to help reduce excess nutrients within our pond systems by utilizing 18 different plant species,” Morrisey said. “The root systems will expand within the water and act as a nice little filter to help remove or absorb some of the algae-causing nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorus.”
The group of interns includes Jaden Addis, sophomore at Ohio State University; Caleb Austin, junior at Wittenberg University; Haley Belisle, senior at Ohio Northern University; Janelle Houseman, junior at University of Vermont; and Cooper Wall, junior at University of Findlay.
“The islands themselves are a brain child of the interns,” Morrisey said. “We sat down and talked about the issues of having the algae and excess nutrients in our ponds and how we can do it. They came up with some very outstanding, creative designs. I think they have five or six different samples, and we talked about the pros and cons of each one.”
There are currently two islands in Cemetery Pond and one in Bear-Pit Pond, each with a slightly different construction to see which proves most effective.
The flotation elements used throughout the samples include recycled bottles, plastic snow fence, PVC pipes, coconut fiber matting, burlap and untreated mulch. They are anchored with cement, while fencing and artificial plants are being used to deter geese and other wildlife from disrupting the wetlands.
To track progress, the team took initial water samples prior to installing the floating wetlands. The district will take follow-up water samples in the fall to compare the levels of nutrients.
Morrisey explained progress may not be seen in the fall water test.
“The islands will take about a year to a year and a half to establish themselves, so we plan on keeping the wetlands in the ponds throughout the entire year,” he said.
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.