Did you know?

Did you know that BBE students & Aitkin County Project are tackling pervasive algal blooms? Steve Hughes, district manager of the Aitkin County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is teaming up with 40 students from the Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering students to clean Fleming Lake.

“Fleming Lake is experiencing problems related to excess nutrients. It has a noticeable algae bloom starting early July; there’s a green tint to the water,” said Hughes.

The team has created 15 islands, made from recycled plastic bottles and PET plastic, shredded and woven together to form a seven inch thick pad. According to manufacturers, this project itself will keep 25,000 bottles out of landfills. Holes are drilled a foot apart in the plastic islands. These holes are where soil and plants will be inserted. The students planted nearly 2,000 aquatic plants native to the area in the islands. The plants’ purpose will be to take up the excess nutrients in the lake through their roots.

The floating islands project is a partnership between the Aitkin County SWCD and the University of Minnesota’s Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. Enbridge’s Ecofootprint Grant Program provided the funding, with a contribution of $101,500.

Learn more in the Department of Biosystems and Bioproducts Engineering's latest issue of the BioBrief