Have you found yourself “pond”ering what’s new at South Lake Park? The City installed 10 new floating wetlands on South Lake to clear and filter the water.
Floating wetlands are buoyant structures that allow natural wetland plants to grow on the lake surface. Constructed from recycled plastic water bottles, each 100-square-foot floating wetland at South Lake holds 100 native plants, adding 1,000 native plants across the lake.
During the hot summer months, harmful algae blooms can grow on the surface of the lake, making fishing and exposure to the water dangerous. As the roots of the wetland plants grow, they pull algae-causing fertilizers out of the water, reducing the number and severity of harmful algae blooms at the lake.
“The installation of these floating wetlands is an exciting opportunity to better the water quality of South Lake, and to utilize the data collected to look for other opportunities to improve Overland Park’s waterways,” said City Water Quality Specialist Cloey Adrian. “Adding green infrastructure and native plants not only helps to prevent damage from outside pollutants, but protects these important ecosystems.”
In addition to their water-cleansing benefits, floating wetlands also provide food and shelter for a variety of insects, birds and fish.
South Lake Park, located at 7601 W 86th St., is home to one of Overland Park’s largest lakes, and the City’s first “floating wetland.” The existing 50 square-foot floating wetland was installed in 2018. City staff will remove the existing wetland and expand the program to other City lakes in need of water filtration.
Visit opkansas.org to learn more about the City’s sustainability efforts.