DESCRIPTION: a floating bio-platform designed to lift (and maintain) rehabilitive plant species within environments of shifting water levels.
CHALLENGE: A team of environmental researchers determined that the absence of a simple plant in the complex eco-system of Lake Winnipeg was the key to restoring the health of an important body of water. Speaking to CBC news, Lisette Ross, a senior wetlands specialist with Native Plant Solutions explained “Cattails are like the workhorses of wetland systems. They need phosphorus and nitrogen to grow.”
Lake Winnipeg was suffering from an overload of these nutrients, which contributed to the growth of toxic algae. Researchers believed the cattails they sought to plant could make all the difference in restoring the damaged system. But there was a huge problem: the issues being experienced in lake Winnipeg were due to excess flooding, meaning the lake levels were constantly rising making it impossible for their plan to work – cattails won’t grow in water deeper than 40 to 60 centimetres.
CURRY INNOVATION: Enter Mike Curry. Realizing the almost impossible nature of the challenge the researchers faced, Mike Curry knew it was time to think differently. He knew the lake had the power to clean itself. It just needed a little bit of help. So he invented the “floating wetland.” A bio-platform that allows for the growth of cattails in water depths that would normally choke the plant and eliminate its rehabilitative function.
RESULTS: Once long-term field tests are proven successful, expect to see Curry bioplatforms used to rehabilitate retention ponds and at-risk lagoons across the province.