Group Thinks Artificial Wetlands Could be Key to River Cleanup - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Group Thinks Artificial Wetlands Could be Key to River Cleanup

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The artificial wetland is composed of a raft made of recycled plastic with several types of grass planted in pre-drilled holes. (Photo: WBOC) The artificial wetland is composed of a raft made of recycled plastic with several types of grass planted in pre-drilled holes. (Photo: WBOC)

EASTON, Md.- The Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy has launched a new project to clean up the Tred Avon River in Talbot County: an artificial wetland.

The project was one of the top ideas the MRC put forward to the Easton Town Council to clean up the Tanyard Branch of the 17-mile-long river. It is composed of a raft made of recycled plastic with several types of grass planted in pre-drilled holes.

The MRC said that over time, the grasses will grow over the raft, and there will appear to be nothing artificial about it. But it is not just a nice thing to look at.

"The idea was if we could put these floating wetlands in the ponds, they would take up nitrogen and phosphorous which are the biggest pollutants in our rivers and bay right now," said MRC Director Tim Junkin.

Junkin said that bacteria on the bottom of the raft, combined with the roots from the grasses, will consume the excess phosphorous.

Drew Koslow, who is the Choptank Riverkeeper for the MRC, said these wetlands are superior to their naturally occurring counterparts.

"They are actually more efficient than wetlands along the shoreline because they are literally floating on the surface of the water, and they have all this surface area to host this bacteria that eats the nutrients," Koslow said.

The artificial wetland cost $10,000 to construct, but Junkin said that over time, the cost will come down as more are made.

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