Bio Haven® Islands

New Habitat and Cleaner Water

On  August 17, 2011, the American Society of Landscape Architects – Minnesota Chapter partnered with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and others to launch of seven floating islands in Spring Lake, a severely impaired body in the Lowry Hill Neighborhood of Minneapolis.

The launch was part of an effort to restore the area to its original designation 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 since become ridden with invasive species and been added to the Impaired Waters List of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Clean Water Act.

The partners worked with St. Paul-based Midwest Floating Islands to design seven man-made floating islands that mimic natural islands and create a concentrated wetland effect. Constructed of durable, non-toxic post-consumer plastics and vegetated with native wetland species, they provide a beautiful habitat for birds and animals, while underneath the surface, dense root systems aid in cleaning the water by attracting microbes that are capable of breaking down water-borne pollutants.

In-kind donations and sponsorship dollars to the tune of about $50,000 were essential to this event. But with little less than a month to plan this ambitious undertaking, the relationships that were established and the team’s willingness to tackle a marginalized space were equally as important.

The Spring Lake floating islands project is a first for Minneapolis, setting an important precedent for all of Minnesota’s impaired water bodies. Minnesota-designed and manufactured floating islands support both our environment and the local economy.

Project Partners

  • American Society of Landscape Architects Minnesota Chapter (ASLA-MN)
  • Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association (LHNA)
  • Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (Park Board)
  • City of Minneapolis (City)
  • Blake School
  • Minneapolis Parks Foundation
  • Bassett Creek Watershed Management Commission (Bassett Creek WMO)
  • Midwest Floating Islands
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes