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Has anyone built a floating island with living vegetation on it? I’m toying with the idea for multiple reasons. First when I add more habitat (artificial) to the area I fish off my property I would like a way to steer boaters out around it. I live on a sort of peninsula and my dock sticks out where ppl pontoon by within feet of my dock front. I would like to place a floating island possibly 75-100’ off to the side of my dock but out to the same depth and then place all my artificial habitat between the island and dock as well as back toward shore. This would keep most boaters off the top of the pvc habitat so when water level drops they aren’t hitting trolling motors on it. No wake lake no gas motors jet skis etc electric only. I also think the fish would like the shade under it and it’d be a good spot to reel lures by.
I’m wondering if making it out of one of those floating matts kids play on would work. They are 12’ long and 5’ wide. I could cut it in half and make two of them.
Does anyone have experience with the floating islands and think that would work and what type of plants do you put on it to cover it? Would you place dirt on it or poke holes through and place roots down into water? Any ideas would be appreciated.

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Would planting a group of water lillies in the same spot in 4-6’ depth better accomplish those goals?

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The floating islands are a good idea. The roots of the plants go down into the water and create habitat for the fish too. I don't know about your particular situation, but in ponds they can be left in the water all year long.

We put 1/2 dozen of these in a customers pond a few years ago to help remove nutrients.

https://www.floatingislandinternational.com/

All we had to do is add dirt and plants, then get some rope and we used cinderblocks for anchors.

The floating islands will work better than the lilies, which the boats can just drive through. I'd space the islands less than 10 feet apart to prevent the boats from driving between the islands.


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How might they do in a Nebraska winter say? It is an intriguing idea. I think I’d have a heck of a time deciding what type of plants to put on it.

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Floating Islands of BioHaven were developed and used extensively in Montana. Surely a properly designed island will survive Nebraska winters. The Biohaven owner has had very good success reducing nutrients, improving water quality and growing more fish with his islands. They are good concept when excess nutrients are your problem. Bioremediation.

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/12/22 08:53 PM.

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Originally Posted by Mark Dyer
How might they do in a Nebraska winter say? It is an intriguing idea. I think I’d have a heck of a time deciding what type of plants to put on it.

Your winters aren't any worse than ours. Like Bill said, they will be fine for you.


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Mark - I've been very interested in this topic, but for slightly different reasons: I had a bottle attached to a weighted string that was marking a spot in our lake and was amazed by the number of small bass (8"-12") and minnows that would hang around that small object - just imagine what would happen around a floating wetland/island! I previously did a lot of searching on the net to try to find a way that I could build one that would last and not be an eyesore without spending much money. The ones like what was in the link above are quite expensive. I would love to hear other folks thoughts on how one could be made on a budget and also what plants would make good plants (I don't want to plant something that could spread seeds to other parts of the shore and become issues). I personally would like to plant some lilies on a floating island, but I'm not sure what kind would not spread and cause issues. One idea for floating islands that I have considered is using black milk crates bonded together - I think that they would support the weight of the plants esp with extra floats added around the structure. I was thinking that they could be placed in the water so that the plants could be placed inside of them. Any plants that I use would need to be "turtle proof" so that they would not all be eaten up.

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Longevity will be an issue. You have to worry about UV inhibitors too for UV protection. Take Styrofoam dock floats or foam insulation panels. cut holes in them that allow you to place those black potting containers in them. Fill with hydroponic soil and then add plants. You can use adhesive to glue multiple layers of foam insulation sheets together, then trim to shape with an electric fillet knife. You will have to do the math to see how much flotation you will need, SWAG it, paying attention to what you think the plants will weigh when fully grown.

Blue Flag Iris, other marginal plants will do fine. You have to look at adult plant height when planting, tallest plants in the center, shortest plants on the outside.

Don't plant invasive plants like Yellow Iris, cattails, phragmites, etc.


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Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/13/22 09:24 PM.

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I was thinking of a black corrugated pipe with wine bottles stuffed in side. Would the bottles break when the ice freezes around them?


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Originally Posted by nehunter
I was thinking of a black corrugated pipe with wine bottles stuffed in side. Would the bottles break when the ice freezes around them?

I wouldn't think so, the lateral forces within the ice are not very strong. However, if the ice carries your island to the shore during a windy breakup day, then I think your bottles might be at some risk getting bashed by waves on a rocky shore.

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Glass wine bottles would add unnecessary weight. Go to recycling center and search for plastic bottles that will fit into the black corrugated pipe. Or use swim noodles small or large dia ones stuffed inside the black drain pipe. UV quickly rots the swim noodles however they should last forever inside black drain pipe. That black corrugated drain pipe is UV resistant and lasts a real long time to exposure. That pipe is made in white, yellow and black depending on mfg. Do as in the one video and use expanding foam to seal the ends or optional use a standard drain pipe cap. Seal the cap inside and outside with expanding foam and or silicone or builders caulking. They sell the corrugated drain pipe in diameters of 3",4", and 6". I know that a 2 liter soda bottle fits very tightly inside a 4" black drain pipe.

An optional idea would be to use a thin wall PVC sealed frame instead of a wooden frame that will water log and later loose most its buoyancy. PVC frame could be built into various shapes with PVC pipe connectors.

In nature floating islands can develop enough natural buoyancy that they themselves float.

Editor Lusk has a BioHaven floating island on his main pond but never says much about it in the magazine nor what he planted on it. .

Last edited by Bill Cody; 02/16/22 11:17 AM. Reason: PVC enhancement

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Hi, Mark. I haven't posted in quite awhile but the Boss convinced me I needed to pop in now and again, again! I had some time today and found your post and thought I'd offer my thoughts in addition to what has already been shared. I built a small island probably 8 or 9 years ago and it is still floating in my smaller pond. I used two sheets of the hard foam insulation boards, cut them just a little to add some contour, and glued them together. I used a bit of scrap from another piece to make a raised edge all the way around to hold in the topsoil I added. I also drilled a ton of holes all across the surface of the platform to allow for the roots to grow down into the water, including two large holes that I dropped potted plants into so the bottom hung down in the water. I also bought maybe 6 of those gutter guard things that you stick down inside your gutters to prevent leaves from filling them up. The guards are a very open sort of plastic but have a structure kind of like a loofah so water freely flows through them. I used long wire ties to fasten them to the platform through the holes. The idea there was to create a lot of surface area to encourage growth of small algae to attract baitfish.

I covered the top surface in topsoil and then planted several different plants - ferns, iris, grasses, some perennial flowers of some sort - and put a couple of logs on it in case a turtle wanted to come hang out. I later added a long cable fastened to a cinder block to keep in wandering in a more controlled area as opposed to having it drift with the wind and end up buried underneath some overhanging brush on one corner of the pond. Now it just sits out in the open year round. It has since lost pretty much every bit of plant life I initially placed on it but, in cool fashion of nature doing it's thing, it is now fully populated by native plant species that are all around our pond already. It grows back every year and is absolutely thriving.

So, yes, you can definitely make your own island. Just do it right at the edge of the pond so you can get it into the water (if not just outright building it in the water to start with) - this thing was heavy and took two of us to get it into the water the day we launched it!


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Mark, you might also want to ready through this ollllllllld thread started by Adirondack Pond many years ago that just popped into my mind. He made a simple floating island and it lasted a long time on his pond which got some pretty cold winters on it.

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=13157&Number=154576#Post154576


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Dang Todd. It has been a while


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
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Originally Posted by Dave Davidson1
Dang Todd. It has been a while


Yessir, it sure has!


Todd La Neve

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Originally Posted by Todd3138
Mark, you might also want to ready through this ollllllllld thread started by Adirondack Pond many years ago that just popped into my mind. He made a simple floating island and it lasted a long time on his pond which got some pretty cold winters on it.

https://forums.pondboss.com/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Main=13157&Number=154576#Post154576

Todd, it's about time you get back on here! Good to see you back.

How far away is Covington, VA? I might have to make a trip there in the near future.


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Good to peruse the forums again, Scott. Covington looks like it's about 3 hours away from me but depending on your optimal route, you may come near me on your trip. If it works out that way, I'd love to catch up! If your time allows, having you out here to the farm (we moved out here in 2016) would be fun.


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Sounds like a plan!


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