Jul 30, 2014

City To Float Islands for Heather Farm Park

Walnut Creek with help from community volunteers plans to launch two BioHaven islands as wildlife habitats in park's cement pond.

City To Float Islands for Heather Farm Park

The city of Walnut Creek has plans to float a couple of islands next week.

After that, who knows? Maybe the next season of Survivor can be Survivor — Walnut Creek.

Just kidding. The islands aren't that big.

City staff, assisted by enthusiastic volunteers, on Tuesday plans to launch two floating islands made out of certified non-toxic, recycled plastic to create a habitat for fish and wildlife in the cement pond just north of the community center at Heather Farm Park. The islands are "roundish," measuring 10 feet by 10 feet, roughly 100 square feet, said Mike Vickers, public services manager for Walnut Creek.

The BioHaven floating islands have been used successfully by many agencies, including the Army Corps of Engineers, according to a city news release.

For months, the city has been working with Walnut Creek Open Space Foundation and Aquatic Artscapes to select plants for the islands. The Diablo Valley Fly Fishing Club will assist with planting and island launch.

In the initial stages, as fledgling plants are supported by mulch, the island plantings will be vulnerable, said Vickers. In the early going the islands will have poles and nets hanging from them to protect plants from the park's ubiquitous geese.

If the islands are successful, Vickers said, the city might investigate using more islands in the nature lake to the north in the park.

Tuesday's schedule:

  • 10 a.m.        Islands are placed on shore
  • 10:30 a.m.     Planting begins on first island
  • 12 noon     Planting begins on second island
  • 1:30 p.m.     Islands are launched into the pond

Vickers supplied the following list of plants for the islands.

Plant Species for Floating Island Project

Plant species:

Scientific name                             Common name(s)

Schoenoplectus acutus and/or
 S. californicus                               common tule and/or Calif. bulrush
Canna sp.                                      canna
Hibiscus californicus                       California hibiscus
Juncus sp. (J. patens, J. xiphioides,
J. balticus, J. effuses, etc.)                  rushes
Iris sp.                                                  iris
Carex sp. (C. pansa, C. barbarae, etc.)     sedges
Mimulus guttatus                                  yellow monkeyflower
Mimulus cardinalis                             scarlet monkeyflower
Myosotis palustris                          aquatic forget-me-not
Zephyranthes candida                 rain lily or summer crocus
Lupinus polyphyllus                       streamside lupine
Satureja douglasii                         yerba buena
Veronica americana                     American brooklime
Sisyrinchium callifornicum            yellow-eyed grass
Eschscholzia californica                California poppy

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