Launching a new project known as a “Floating Garden,” the organization is using water bottles, plants and zip ties to clean the water in the Gowanus Canal while providing food and shelter for local wildlife.
The “garden” is made of up of man made “flowers” which are five empty water bottles strung together at the top with zip-ties. The water bottles in turn hold spartina alternirolra plants afloat in the water.
To prevent them from shifting, the plants are weighted using gravel in landscaping fabric. Then the flowers are strung together using tubing and string, which is connected to land so they do not float off in the canal.
John Donnelly has been working with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy for three years and is spearheading the floating garden project.
“These will serve to provide some shelter,” he said. The canal is home to small fish, crabs and birds, and Donnelly hopes the wildlife will be able to use the garden as a source of food and shelter.
Another project to compliment the floating garden is the building of platforms which will provide shelter for herrings. Recently, these birds have been spotted in the area and the conservancy began building and painting platforms and shelters for the birds to land on when the weather is bad.
At an event on Sunday, August 19, volunteers helped make the floating gardens and platforms along with tearing out weeds, sifting through compost and cleaning up garbage along the canal.
Arianna Ferrario, a member of Gowanus Canal Conservancy, said the idea behind the floating garden is to “help clean the canal.”
“While the marsh plants located on the side of the canal help prevent runoff, the canal is still polluted,” she said.
Another goal of the the herring platforms and the floating garden is to “make the canal look nicer,” she added.
Ferrario said the organization asked for help from community members as a way to call attention to the canal.
“We want to get people interested in the canal and create some attention,” she said.