The Hillers Dam Enhancement Project: Artificial islands imitating natural wetlands

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Sample BioHaven Cluster
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Hillers Dam is a public day use area owned by Mountain View County. The Hillers Reservoir habitat is 54 acres, 23 acres of which are water and 31 acres of short prairie grassland. Every year the dam is stocked with approximately 10,000 rainbow trout. Residents from all over Alberta come to Hillers Dam to fish. Hillers Dam is listed on Alberta’s Fish Stocking Program and in the Alberta Guide to Sport Fishing Regulations. The dam is fairly shallow (9ft), and during hot summers is prone to algae blooms resulting in high fish mortality rates on the dam due to reduced oxygen levels. We are hoping to decrease these issues by installing floating islands.

The Hillers Dam Enhancement Project will consist of installing a Biohaven Cluster (3 islands) with a water circulator and a BioHaven Kidney Cluster (3 islands). The islands are made from 100% recycled plastic, which is bonded together with foam. The floating islands will be planted with a mixture of native grasses and wetland plants like sedges, rushes and cattails that will be sourced locally. These plants, along with the microbes present, will help to absorb sediments and take up nutrients like phosphates, nitrates, ammonia, heavy metals and other pollutants in the dam with their exposed roots. The size of the islands will total about 436 ft2. The floating islands are being installed to improve the fish habitat, create more riparian habitat, increase biodiversity and improve the water quality of the dam; imitating a natural wetland but with significantly more surface area.

Over the years the County has worked with landowners upstream of Hillers Dam on protecting and improving their riparian areas, this will be a continuation of those efforts.

For more information contact Lorelee Grattidge, Sustainable Agricultural Specialist, Mountain View County, Bag 100 Didsbury, AB  T0M 0W0. Tel: (403) 335-3311 ext 163.

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