FAQ’s for Floating Islands

1. What is a BioHaven® floating island?
BioHaven floating islands are a green technology that “biomimics” natural floating wetlands to clean the water and provide habitat in a variety of ponds, lakes, and other waterbodies. These islands are an innovative floating version of a constructed wetland that can be positioned in places where you could not install a traditional constructed wetland due to constraints such as cost, lack of space, and ease of access. Islands quickly create a diverse floating ecosystem. Plants flourish due to the greater access to sunlight than on the shore and the ability to float which allows the roots to have a constant supply of water. The island will quickly attract small aquatic life forms, butterflies, dragonflies, birds, turtles, frogs, ducks, and fish.

2. How does a BioHaven floating wetland improve water quality?
Many bodies of water associated in the Midwest carry an unnaturally high nutrient load. This can result in algae growth and a wide range of serious water quality problems. BioHavens represent a holistic way to reduce those nutrients and convert them into floating island habitat. BioHaven constructed islands are a type of floating bioreactor designed to improve water quality by leveraging biofilm and microbial activity on the long plant roots and in and below the island material. Independent research has proven the efficacy of BioHaven® in reducing nitrates, phosphorus, ammonia, total suspended solids (TSS), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), heavy metals and coliform. Studies have also shown that the islands will reduce heavy metals and improve the dissolved oxygen (DO) levels that promote healthy aquatic life.

3. What it the material used for a BioHaven island?
Floating islands are a proprietary product designed to be safe in the water. The matrix material which forms the substrate is made from recycled PET from pop and water bottles that does not use BPA. This material is used because it is an ideal substance for growing the sticky biofil which attracts the microbes for removing contaminants. The matrix material was used safely in water many years before BioHavens were invented and has been tested to be safe for fish.

4. What will grow on a BioHaven floating island?
We recommend native plants that like water, but many people add in annuals for color. Many nurseries have wetland plants available. Click here for a list of some examples of wetland plants popular in the Midwest but we recommend you choose plants appropriate for your planting zone.

5. How do you decide the size for a floating treatment wetland to reduce contaminants?
We can guide you on the size of your island based on the size of the waterbody, the current water quality information, your goals, and your budget. The islands will remove more pollutants if they are bigger (so more surface area for the microbes) and if there is water circulated past the island.

6. Is it important or useful to anchor my BioHaven in one spot? If so, how are they anchored?
We recommend anchoring your island so it can go up and down with changing water levels. A disadvantage of leaving your BioHaven unanchored is that if your pond’s water level changes your island may hang up against a shoreline.

All islands come with anchor attachment points through which an anchor “rope,” chain, or stainless steel cable can be inserted. Sturdy cord for smaller islands. A heavy object can then be tied to the other end and lowered to bottom. Be sure to allow enough slack for fluctuations in the water level after storms. Alternatively you can tether your island to the shore, which has some advantages in making it accessible.

7. How long will it take for my BioHaven to mature into a beautiful floating island?
No more than one season. In fact, many experienced gardeners report that their islands develop faster than conventional gardens.

8. Do BioHavens attract mosquitoes?
No, just the opposite – the islands attract fish, nymphs, and other insects that actually consume mosquito larvae.

9. Will a BioHaven plug up?
We have not had issues with islands plugging up. Even if the island is accumulating solids and biofilm inside the matrix, it is constantly being “eaten” by fish and other small (or large) life forms. The heavier stuff will tend to slough off into the sediment below. This is unlike a constructed wetland, which will tend to plug up in due course.

10. When can I plant my BioHaven Floating Island if I live in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or Wisconsin?
People in the upper Midwest successfully plant new islands between early May and late September. The plants will come back the next spring just like natural wetlands.

11. Can I use a floating island as swimming platform?
No, please do not swim around or underneath a BioHaven floating island. Our floating islands are designed to quickly become a floating eco-system that bio-mimics natural wetlands. The root growth below the islands and anchors could represent a swimming or diving hazard.