Baltimore City Historical Society: Explore Environmental History
December 07, 2013
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Waterfront Partnership's Inner Harbor Floating Wetlands are made up of 2,000 square feet of floating islands planted with native species that provide habitat for marine life and help to clean the water!
Every time it rains, pollutants are carried off lawns, roads, and other urban surfaces into our streams and Harbor. Wetlands are one of nature's most efficient tools for cleaning polluted water. As the plants grow they remove nutrient pollution and store it in their leaves, while adding life-giving oxygen to the water. At the same time, their roots support a habitat for microorganisms that feed on pollution. This amazing, multi-tasking machine runs on nothing but sunlight.
Why "floating" wetlands?
Few natural wetlands exist along the Harbor's urban shorelines. The wetlands below were built to float in the water. Crabs, mussels, eels and other aquatic life colonize the wetlands, while waterfowl and fish use them for refuge.
Trash: from problem to part of the solution.
Inside these floating islands are bundles of plastic bottles--litter that was collected from the Harbor and up-cycled--to provide floating for the wetlands.
How can you help?
You may not be able to put floating wetlands in your backyard, but you can help clean up the Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay by not over-fertilizing your lawns or litters, cleaning up after your pets, and using rain gardens and rain barrels to reduce the amount of water that runs off your property when it rains.