Artificial islands designed to reduce pollution, and constructed from recycled water bottles, were launched Wednesday on Spring Lake by neighbors from Minneapolis' Lowry Hill.
The artificial islands are planted with native plants that can help reduce pollution in the lake, according to landscape architect Craig Wilson. The bottles are from a company in St. Paul.
Spring Lake was given to the Minneapolis Park Board in 1893 as a wildlife sanctuary, but now it's polluted with excess fertilizer and salt that runs off a nearby snow storage area. The surrounding park is overgrown with invasive plants.
"One of the islands in fact is going to be hosting strawberry patches, and the strawberries will be uptaking nutrient from the lake and then feeding birds and other wildlife," Wilson said.
Students from nearby Blake School will monitor water quality and try to learn which plants work best to cut pollution. Some of the plants on the islands will help purify polluted water; others will provide food and habitat for animals.
"We'll be targeting amphibians, reptiles, and a variety of birds," Wilson said. "And then underneath the island, fish will find the habitat very well suited to their needs, providing roots and other things to nibble on."
Organizers say the idea could work on many of Minnesota's lakes.