King County to install vegetated ‘floating islands’ at Hicklin Lake
King County announced Tuesday (May 21) that it is moving forward with its plan for cleaning up Hicklin Lake in White Center by using vegetated ‘floating islands’ to improve water quality.
Seattle-based Herrera Environmental, representing the international firm Biomatrix Water, will design and install two 600-square-foot floating islands early this summer in Hicklin Lake, which is located in Lakewood Park in White Center.
Covered with native wetland vegetation, the islands are designed so that the plants’ roots extend below the waterline. The roots and accompanying biofilm take up excess nutrients from the water column – one of the main causes of the ongoing algae blooms that bedevil the small lake’s water quality.
The project is being managed by the Water and Land Resources Division (WLRD) of the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, and was made possible through a combination of surface water funds and a $50,000 grant from the Washington Department of Ecology.
Hicklin Lake water quality has been a concern for years, with a history of harmful algae blooms that have posed potential health threats to people, pets and wildlife.
The plan for installing the floating islands isn’t the only step King County has taken to improve water quality in Hicklin Lake. Staff from WLRD have been tracking down and eliminating illegal and inadvertent sewer connections that discharge pollutants into the stormwater system that flows into the small lake, as well as updating and improving the stormwater infrastructure that serves the area.