A huge THANK YOU to all of our donors for helping us reach our initial $3,300 goal in only 6 days! We are so grateful for your outpouring of support and generosity in donating to our project! We have created a new stretch goal of $4,000, which will allow us to buy more plants for the wetland and keep up with unforeseen costs that may come up during construction. Please continue to show your support by sharing or donating today!
UC Berkeley teaches us that we have the power to change anything for the better as long as we work hard enough, which is good, because we have a huge goal.
According to the state water board, algae was detected in 49 California lakes/waterways in 2017 alone. Normal algae blooms can be harmful, growing in thick mats on top of the water and depriving fish and plants of oxygen that they need to survive. If the algae gets bad enough, it in turn has been known to create dead-zones in lakes. Additionally, to make matters worse, lakes naturally contain cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) which can become toxic and begin emitting a neurotoxin that is harmful to humans and is known to be fatal to dogs.
For Lake Temescal, the algae is especially detrimental as it is a huge community center, where many families come each year to hike, swim, bike, picnic, fish, and enjoy being in nature. However, because of the cyanobacteria, Lake Temescal is closed multiple times a year, which takes away from this natural community center.
Being Berkeley students, we wanted to change things for the better. Our goal is to build a Man-Made Wetland that will remove the excess nutrients in the water in two ways: from the plants that will grow on the wetland, and by a bacteria colony on the plant roots, called a "biofilm." These types of wetlands can also act as a great refuge for fish in the lake, helping bring back fish populations that the algae might have depleted. Our team consists of 10 students of all different years and majors, who are all concerned about the human impact on the environment and what we can do to remediate it. We are all part of the club on the Berkeley campus called Engineers for a Sustainable World, and you can learn more about all of the projects we are doing, here.
The wetland we will launch into the lake will be made of all natural products, such as a base of coconut coir fiber and cork, held together by bamboo and vegetable fiber string. This means that our wetland will be 100% biodegradable, and remain held together by the plant mass/roots that will also be cleansing the water. This makes our island slightly different (and we argue, better) than the many that are already successfully cleansing lakes all over the country! Many other wetlands use plastic and treated wood in their wetlands, which can be a source of even more pollution.
We have been working with the East Bay Regional Park District, and with their help we hope to begin building by the end of this semester, and be finished and ready to launch this wetland by the end of the summer! We want to start removing nutrients as fast as possible!
We have a vision, but now we need your help to make it a reality.
Please donate and share our project!
*As a slight clarification to the video: The three dogs that died were actually killed over 2014-2015 and not in the past year. Furthermore, Lake Temescal does not have dead-zones, however, other lakes have been affected by these and our goal is to make sure that the algae on Temescal never gets bad enough to create one*