Congrats to Matt MacDonald (MLA ’15) recipient of the 2014 Pacific Northwest Chapter Research Grant. His application for Design and Comparative Evaluation of Floating Wetlands in the Puget Sound Lowlands: Water Temperature Control, Plant Performance, and Aquatic Habitat was evaluated by a panel of wetland scientists and was selected to be funded.
Matt’s introduction to the project notes that faculty from University of Washington’s Department of Landscape Architecture, as well as the College of Built Environment’s Green Futures Lab continue to offer invaluable support and insights into the operation of the Lower Stensland Creek Floating Wetlands Pilot Project.
The grant proposal seeks to address, among other questions: To what degree are waters under floating wetlands used by fish, in comparison to waters under shade cloth, and in comparison to open waters? Which plant species are well suited to floating wetlands in the Puget Sound Lowlands? What are the best times to plant?
Floating wetlands are a relatively new technology used to improve water quality, create habitat, and manage water temperature. While more common elsewhere, floating wetlands are rare in the Pacific Northwest, with no record of research. This presents an opportunity and need for basic testing and evaluation of floating wetlands in the region.
In 2013, Phase I of the Pilot Project was designed and installed. Monitoring is ongoing. Critical funding for the installation of Phase I was provided in part by King County, Washington. The recent grant from the Society of Wetland Scientists will be channeled to support the installation and monitoring of Phase II of this project, to be conducted in 2014.