Reviving Spring Lake
Mere steps from the Upper School campus, sits Spring Lake, a severely impaired body of water with a shoreline and park ridden with invasive species. For years, Blake students have partnered with the Minneapolis Park Board and the Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association (LHNA) to help clean up the surrounding park area. And each school year, Blake’s environmental science students conduct tests on the lake’s water as part of their class field studies.
When the Minneapolis Park Board acquired Spring Lake in 1893, it was home to a host of plant species and wildlife. Recently, the Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA-MN) announced plans, with funds provided by the LHNA, to restore the lake area to its original designation as a bird and wildlife sanctuary and to remove the lake from Minnesota’s Pollution Control Agency’s Impaired Waters List. The Blake School is proud to be a partner in this new effort.
The plan includes the design and installation of seven floating islands, know as floating treatment wetlands (FTW), that will improve water quality, attract beneficial plant and animal species and help restore the lake to a livable fishing habitat. The islands mimic natural floating islands to create a concentrated wetland effect. Constructed of durable, non-toxic post-consumer plastics and vegetated with native plants, the islands float on top of the water, providing a habitat for birds and animals, while underneath the surface, the FTWs aid in cleaning the water by attracting microbes that are responsible for breaking down water-borne pollutants. In addition to the FTWs, the LHNA is contributing a canoe launch that will be used by Blake students for their ongoing water monitoring efforts.
See photos of a Blake-created island already launched on Spring Lake, as well as images from the celebratory island launch held August 17. Also a diagram of a FTW.