On August 17, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA-MN) celebrated the launch of seven floating islands on Spring Lake, a severely impaired body of water in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis.
ASLA-MN worked with the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association to restore the area as a bird and wildlife sanctuary. Acquired by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board as a wildlife refuge in 1893, the shoreline and park had become ridden with invasive species and added to the state’s impaired waters list.
The groups worked with St. Paul-based Midwest Floating Islands to design seven man-made floating islands to create a concentrated wetland effect. The islands are constructed of durable, nontoxic postconsumer plastics and vegetated with native wetland species. Their undersides will aid in cleaning the water by attracting microbes responsible for breaking down water-borne pollutants.
Project partners and volunteers worked hard to plant and install the floating islands August 15-16. On August 17, as part of the ASLA nationwide “08.17.11” campaign, the ASLA-MN Chapter and project partners hosted a celebration over the noon hour. Over 100 people, including members of major media outlets, attended and watched as the last island was secured in place.
“When people work together, wonderful things happen,” commented Park Board Commissioner Anita Tabb.
Minneapolis Council Member Lisa Goodman, added: “This effort is a wonderful example of when we remember that we are the government and take initiative, good things happen. I’ve had the opportunity to work with many landscape architects in the past years. (They are) one of the most treasured professions in our city.”
“The Spring Lake floating islands project is an important precedent for Minnesota’s impaired water bodies. Minnesota-designed and manufactured floating islands support both our environment and the local economy,” said Craig Wilson, ASLA-MN president-elect.
In-kind donations and sponsorship dollars (about $50,000) were essential, but with little less than a month to plan this ambitious undertaking, the relationships that were established and the team’s willingness to tackle this project were equally important.
This project gained media attention around the state and was even picked up by international media outlets, including the International Business Times in the U.K.
ASLA-MN wishes to recognizes in particular chapter members Craig Wilson (president-elect), Chris Behringer (secretary), and directors Cindy Zerger, Carrie Christensen, Erica Christenson and Anna Claussen for their work on this project.
For additional information visit ASLA-MN's blog http://aslaminn.wordpress.com.