*If you're reading this, you have either subscribed to the mailing list on our website or donated to our project through Berkeley Crowdfunding. Please read the update below on our website which also contains pictures at: https://achow50.wixsite.com/floatingwetland/updates
Thank you for your patience and continued support! It's been a busy school semester and summer for us Cal students, but construction for our floating wetland has finally begun!
Our team began construction this past weekend as materials began to arrive at the build site. The plan was to build a prototype mini wetland, a 3' x 4' triangle to test for buoyancy, strength, and durability.
Starting with the bamboo frame of the island, we initially built a triangle by using jute rope to tie individual poles together. Although this original design worked, we realized that a more cost effective alternative would be to weave the bamboo into an 8' x 8' square. This would allow us to avoid cutting the bamboo into smaller pieces, and prevent costly mistakes and wasted resources.
After weaving together the bamboo poles, we proceeded to tie each intersection with jute rope to strengthen the frame and prevent the poles from sliding. We placed the bottom frame over our jute netting and rolled a pad of coconut coir over the frame. The top frame was then placed over the coconut coir and tied to the bottom frame, sandwiching the coir between them. Finally, the netting was wrapped over the entire wetland and sewn together with jute rope.
This entire construction (and reconstruction) process took about five hours of constant learning and patience. Although we came into the project with a clear plan in mind, actually being on the site and building the wetland brought a wealth of new ideas which seriously paid off. Our team was able to come out of this first success with a completed prototype that was strong, buoyant, and durable. In the next couple months, our team will be monitoring the wetland for structural integrity and buoyancy as it floats in an old swimming pool. This first success has us excited for the possibilities this project holds for Lake Temescal and other bodies of water suffering from algal blooms. Thank you for your support and GO BEARS!