Manchester City Council – Bridgewater Basin’s Floating Ecosystems

The Bridgewater Basin Floating Ecosystems project aims to breathe new life into the underused canal basin by using an artistic and scientific approach to improving the aesthetic, while at the same time creating a haven for wildlife.

The project was funded primarily through the City Councils Clean City Fund, and cost approximately £50,000.

Working with aquatic scientists from Biomatrix Water Solutions, a series of active floating ecosystems were designed, constructed and assembled to fit exactly into the frame of the basin with gaps allowing for any floating detritus to be easily scooped out.

The ecosystems float but are attached to risers so they can rise and fall with any change in water level.

Many of the plants will provide a valuable food source for bees and other insects that in turn will feed birds and bats.

Underwater, nylon strands are fixed to the underside of each island, creating a swaying mass of artificial roots that are perfect for fish to hide in and spawn against. These roots also encourage bacteria colonisation which helps improve water quality and reduce pollution.