Bobbing unobtrusively on the surface of GemLife Bribie Island’s Dux Lake is a flotilla of man-made rafts that house hundreds of native wetland plants. Seamlessly blending in with their natural surroundings, these deceptively humble plants – collectively called a biological floating water treatment system (FWTS) – are working around-the-clock to clean the lake’s water.
GemLife Director and CEO Adrian Puljich said the floating wetlands were part of GemLife’s mission to make the resort as eco-friendly as possible.
“Environmental sustainability is very important to GemLife. The wetland system has a number of environmental benefits and the rafts used to house the plants are even made from recycled plastic drink bottles,” he said.
FWTS are used to keep the lake water clean and provide a suitable environment for fish to thrive. They also function as flood barriers and natural water purifiers and are sometimes referred to as the kidneys of the Earth. The wetland plants that are anchored to the rafts remove pollutants and lower phosphorus levels in the water which slows soil erosion and helps plant life thrive.
The water is cleaned through plant, soil and root interactions that mimic natural wetlands and house beneficial water cleaning microorganisms. Water is treated by the oxygenated, bulky mass of roots that hang beneath the raft like a thick curtain. This thick mass of roots provides an ideal surface area for the growth of biofilm which works to keep the water as clean as possible.
“Along with keeping the water clean, floating wetlands are also beneficial to the natural plant and fish life in the beautiful Dux Lake,” said Adrian.
FWTS foster natural vegetation rehabilitation and provide a food source and refuge for fish for a biologically diverse, healthy ecosystem and bring waterways to life by attracting native wildlife. These special ecosystems can also reduce suspended sediments in ponds, provide bacterial support that is necessary for the treatment of water, and manage stormwater by protecting shorelines from erosion by slowing water flow.
Phase two of the floating wetlands is currently under construction and will introduce even more water-cleaning plants to Dux Lake. To be completed by the end of June, phase two is located in the lake near the dog park.