The Escambia County Water Quality and Land Management Division will install temporary floating wetlands in a county-maintained stormwater pond on Lanier Drive, south of Creighton Road. The floating wetland island project will improve water quality by removing excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous), grow native plants to be incorporated into local restoration projects, and provide environmental education for school-aged children and college-level participants. The project is in its second year.
Funding for this project was provided through a $295,500 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Gulf of Mexico Program.
Installation of the floating wetland islands will begin Tuesday, June 25 and is expected to be completed in approximately two weeks. The floating islands will cover approximately 21,000 square feet of the open water area and will be in place for approximately six months. The islands will be used to grow several species of wetland grasses, including smooth cordgrass, saltmeadow cordgrass, seashore paspalum, soft rush, pickerel weed and duck potato. The second season of the project is expected to grow an additional 50,000 plants.
Individual plants will be harvested for use in multiple local restoration projects such as living shorelines and other coastal wetland restoration projects. Escambia County will be conducting surface water quality monitoring during the project to document water quality improvements.