There is a little-known connection between greenhouse gas emissions and impaired lakes.
Researchers have again confirmed that lakes devoid of oxygen produce methane. This happens when too many nutrients are present in the lake and all the oxygen is used up as they are digested. BioHavens cure this issue by removing nutrients before any oxygen depletion happens.
Here are some articles on the subject:
Warm winters, cool spring, hot summer.... enter nutrients. When climate change and spring runoff coincide, Harmful Algae Blooms are just round the corner. Flooding that flushes agricultural runoff down watershed blended with ever-increasing post-treatment human nutrient load pretty much guarantees that harmful algae blooms (HABs) are on their way. They are coming despite the pandemic slow-down other sectors experience. All the primary nutrient sources are still in place despite our historical stay-at-home strategy. And, although our carbon emissions are lower than before the pandemic, climate change is still marching on!
Solar BioHaven platforms bring renewable energy close to where the users are.
Today there is growing concern about the possible side-effects of renewable energy production. This is because solar and wind farms are often sited in remote areas where real estate is less expensive. But the downside is that ever more high power lines are needed to carry energy to consumers. Wind farms seek out high-wind settings, but so do migratory birds who have evolved to use this wind for covering vast distances. So between the blades of wind turbines and often deadly power lines, bird fatalities are a sad consequence of renewable power generation.
Solar BioHavens change this.
If your waterway suffers from large volumes of algae, it is probably eutrophic. This means it is generating greenhouse gases as the algae dies and breaks down. In the most extreme instances, potent greenhouse gases like methane and nitrous oxide occur. But BioHaven Floating Islands change this paradigm. They cycle the same nutrients that grow algae and cyanobacteria into more desirable, perennial biota. These include native plants and trees, diatoms, invertebrates that are found in heathy wetlands, and fish.
What drives a harmful algae bloom? They occur in freshwater and saltwater. Blooms (HABs) are not just inconvenient, but actually can be dangerous. Besides killing fish and other aquatic life, blooms of cyanobacteria can result in water that’s toxic to animals and humans. What is the root cause of such blooms, and what can we reasonably do about them?
In the 2018 event in Longboat Key, Florida that led to tons of dead fish, a smell so awful people would gag with one inhale, empty beaches, empty roads, and empty restaurants, they blamed red tide. Another algae problem also plagues Florida's waterways: Blue-green algae, which has a direct correlation to agricultural and urban runoff.
There is an exciting movement happening around water today – Water Resource Recovery! It is happening with wastewater, stormwater, lakes and ponds. If you are one of the folks charged with running a community, are part of a lake homeowner association, or are one of the lucky few who own and control private water, this is supremely important. Today we have the science and the knowledge with which to generate revenue from water.
Today you can generate electricity by collecting sunlight on your water. You can create a recreational fishing destination. You can grow feeder fish. And here’s the clincher…the byproduct is pristine water! It’s a true byproduct. In the past a model system would pay huge dollars to achieve decent water quality. Today, the water can pay as it goes.
Just a few minutes ago, I walked by the first large BioHaven we ever launched. We call it the 520 because it’s 520 square feet (very imaginative!). I still remember the launch because nearly everything we planted on the island that day in August was edible and perennial and native…at least to North America. The plants took longer to establish, but eventually tied into BioHaven’s recycled plastic matrix and are still there today. It took the 520 about a year to fully naturalize, and today the island still looks splendid.
This BioHaven was launched in 2004 and is still splendid
That launch was sixteen years ago.
This is an interesting question, as stormwater typically does not have point-source concentrations of nutrients in it like wastewater does. But not all stormwater is created equal. Just look up-watershed and track the potential nutrient loading that could be happening. For example, is there heavy farming in the up-watershed region? In such a setting there is likely to be surges of nutrients. Say a storm event coincides with farm field fertilizer application. Or a flood irrigation system is inadvertently mishandled. And about a million other mishaps can explain why the downstream storm water pond occasionally becomes a flat-out carpet of algae.
Originally Fish Fry Lake was a nutrient rich, pea-soup green mosquito factory. You would not let your dog drink from the edge. The place stank, and when our black dog did decide to cool off and take a dip, within minutes of coming out of the water his coat would take on a reddish hue. A visiting professor who studies biofilm described the phenomenon as cyanobacteria…which can poison water. The lake was in such tough shape because agricultural fertilizers were perking into the groundwater that in turn perked into the lake. And there was no way for me to prevent this from continuing to happen.
As many of us probably recognize, nutrients in the right ratio are the building blocks of life. Natural systems evolve around nutrients, making them indispensable. When they cycle through a food web, without stacking up, the ecosystem can be incredibly productive. This, among other things, creates a path to pristine water.
The challenge comes when the ratio of nutrients is off, and they stack up.