Call: (800) 442-6648
These are questions that ABI has encountered and our answers, to
the best of our ability.
A. Floating Islands are straightforward
to launch, but there are many advantages to getting trained help.
All Floating Islands come with full instructions, and without any
prior training, are possible to launch. Once you get into the
larger islands (130 sq ft and above) they require more manpower to
The advantage of having ABI launch your
floating island is the same as with anything else: peace of mind is
assured and any problems are likely to be anticipated and solved
more easily. Note: Living Walkways and docks are always installed
A: If the water in your pond is well
aerated, almost any plant suitable for your planting zone will
grow. If your water is not well aerated, or if you are not sure, we
recommend riparian (wetland) plants that are naturally adapted to
low oxygen conditions. A list of sources for wetland plant seeds
and wildflower seeds, which we recommend, are available in the
"planting launching & anchoring" section of our website.
A: Answer: No more than one season. In
fact, many experienced gardeners report that their islands develop
faster than conventional gardens. Floating Islands typically green
up sooner in the spring and stay green longer in the fall due to
the thermal effect of water.
A: A carefully designed planting
strategy can either encourage or discourage grazing by waterfowl,
and root grazing by certain fish species. With thoughtful plant
selection, Floating Islands can assist you in stewardship of your
waterway. You can use your island to lure waterfowl away from other
sites, to feed fish, or to provide more secure nest sites for
swans, or you can select plants that are not conducive to waterfowl
A: ABI is able to grow a developed
floating island for you prior to launching with sufficient notice.
Due to the weight and dimensions of a fully mature, island certain
sizes due to apply.
A: Small Floating Islands, up to about
25 square feet, are easily moved. Pull them onto a tarp on a fairly
level shoreline, let them drain for an hour or so, then carry them
into the new location. If you are going to transport, your wet
island be sure to carefully cover the entire island to prevent
plant desiccation. .
A: An advantage of leaving your
Floating Island unanchored is that you will enjoy a changing
waterscape. However, this is not always practical. All islands come
with anchor attachment points through which an anchor "rope" can be
inserted. We recommend you use chain for large islands, sturdy cord
for smaller islands. A heavy object can then be tied to the other
end and lowered to bottom. Make sure you allow enough slack for
fluctuations in the water level. Alternatively, you can tether your
island to shore, which has some advantages in making it accessible.
A: We recommend that you remove such
plants from your island. Pruning them back aggressively should also
work. On the other hand, a large Floating Island can support about
two pounds of additional negative buoyancy per square foot. So in
other words, a 500 square foot Floating Island can support up to
1000 pounds of weight, which might include people, picnic tables,
or some other waterscape option. We often use rocks on Floating
Islands as habitat features. Floating Islands can be made in any
size, and can be customized to achieve higher levels of buoyancy if
A: Many bodies of water associated with
agriculture or septic systems or storm water management or lawn and
garden fertilizers carry an unnaturally high nutrient load. This
can result in a wide range of serious water quality problems.
Floating Islands represent a holistic way to "mine" these
problem-causing nutrients out of your waterway and convert them
into a beautiful and wildlife enhancing floating island
A: No. However, your Floating Island
will help prevent algae from developing into a monoculture in your
A. We do not believe so. 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.
A: Small Floating Islands do not
represent a safety issue that we know of. Larger ones could
represent a boating hazard and we recommend that they be well
marked so as to be visible under all conditions. Unless your
Floating Island has been specially designed to support human
activity, we recommend that you do not walk on them, or swim
adjacent or underneath them. Roots that grow through Floating
Islands could represent a serious swimming or diving issue.
A. No. Floating Islands are made from
PET, which does not use BPA in its manufacture, and is not known to
leach any other substances into water. It is the plastic used in
most drink bottles and is safe around water. In fact, there is
scientific evidence that Floating Islands are net absorbers of BPA
- in other words, they remove it from water. Please see our
A: No. However, Floating Islands do
attract fish, nymphs, and other insects that consume mosquito
larvae. Also, carnivorous plants that eat mosquitoes occur on wild
floating islands and would no doubt be readily grown on Floating
A: Yes, but such a Floating Island
would need to be customized to support the specified loads.
A: A strategically positioned Floating
Island can function as a breakwater dampening wave action.
A: Two workers can assemble, launch and
plant a 250 in less than three hours. No real assembly is required
for the 90 square foot and smaller islands.
A: Yes, and studies measuring their
efficacy in this application are underway in Bozeman, Montana and
Toronto, Canada. An additional study is being developed by a large
research organization in New Zealand as well. While these studies
are underway and data is not complete, we have measured significant
uptake of suspended solids, which is a form heavy metals
occasionally take, from waterways.
A. We are excited, relieved and
encouraged by early results from a student research project that
show that Floating Islands reduce levels of estrogen in water.
Increased levels of this chemical are entering our waterways
through human use of birth-control pills resulting in fish
populations becoming sterile. Other hazardous pharmaceuticals get
into our water - e.g., chemotherapy drugs - and we greatly hope
Floating Islands can mediate against these too. Plenty of research
A: In the event you want to weed your
island - or tend your plants (for instance, to thin or prune them)
- you can either wade out to the island and do it in place, or you
can move the island onto shore. For the latter, it could make sense
to tether the island to a point on the shore but alternatively you
can use a pole (or similar) to gently pull a small island in.
A: You can either buy a bigger island,
or join many smaller islands together with our specially designed
cables and pins. Floating Islands are available in a wide variety
of sizes. The number of islands you can join together is limited
only by the space you have available.
A: Yes, but very, very carefully. We
recommend using worm castings, a natural and water-friendly
fertilizer. But we would strongly advise avoiding chemical-based
fertilizers as it is frequently the nutrients found in fertilizer
that cause water quality problems in the first place. One of the
reasons we recommend native species is because they normally do not
require much pampering. .
A: Yes. In fact, doing so can be a lot
of fun. You also have the option of growing some really exotic
succulents like watercress or wild ginger. Fertilize with
worm-castings if you are not sure about the nutrient levels in your
pond. AERATION is essential when growing non-wetland species.
If you know your water has high levels of toxins, it would probably
be best to avoid eating produce grown on it. However, we know that
different plants have different strategies for up-take and storage
of toxins in their stems, leaves and roots, so we would say
investigate further, and even have the fruit tested if it is
***A question for you now! If you grow veggies on a floating island
without herbicides, pesticides or chemical fertilizers, is the
fruit organic? What if you know the water contains run-off and
nutrients from fertilizer? Does this affect your answer? Moreover,
what if you consider that this same water is being used to water
the garden or other crops? ***
A: BioHavens can be launched any time
of year. In fact, placing them in position on top of an ice-covered
waterway is a method we have tested with success. Another effective
approach is fall seeding of islands, which positions them for nice
green up the following spring. Nevertheless, as you might expect,
launching an island in the spring or summer means that your island
can green up and add to your waterscape quickly.
A. The buoyancy standard for Floating
Islands is 5 #'s per square foot, which equates to 55#'s per square
meter. This is the standard for our 8" thick islands. We also make
modules that are five feet by 8 feet by 10"s thick, which have a 12
# per square foot buoyancy standard. Adding additional buoyancy is
easy, but does reduce the biomediation quotient. In other words,
there will be less surface area for microbial colonization as we
add more buoyancy so more buoyancy equates to less pollution
A. Yes, numerous plants can flourish in
brackish or salt-water settings. I know of one such launch, but we
anticipate many others in the future. Keep in mind that microbial
action is actually responsible for most of the nutrient uptake
associated with water cleanup, and they definitely will thrive in
such a setting (in fact the optimal microbes are the native species
that already occur in your setting, and which will quickly colonize
your island). For macrophytyes, we suggest that you plant with
native species that are currently occurring along the waters
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