Case Studies

To verify the efficacy of our products, Floating Island International, Inc. and its licensees conduct extensive research and testing both in the laboratory and in the field. This section provides summaries of our major studies and links to published research, which will provide insight into the specific properties of floating islands in the fields of water quality, habitat management, wave mitigation and erosion control.

Case Studies

Holly Pond - Algae reduction in a housing subdivision stormwater pond

Location: Sheridan, Wyoming
Summary: Using standard BioHavens in concert with a BioHaven Floating Streambed, the City of Sheridan was able to significantly reduce algae in this housing pond and improve the quality of water and the quality of life for residents.

Moonlight Basin - excellent Nitrogen removal from wastewater at altitude

Location: Big Sky, Montana
Summary: This stunning array of BioHavens, installed and planted by Watershed Consulting, out-performed the customer's expectation with exceptional Nitrogen removal.

CH2M Hill study measuring nutrient removal by BioHaven technology in waste water

Location: Pasco, Florida
Summary: This major study of the impact of 20 BioHaven floating islands demonstrated our highest removal rates so far on Nitrogen and Phosphorus, as well as documenting ancillary benefits of wildlife habit and mosquito abatement. The original research report is available on request from

Minnow Pond - Establishing Brush Park Aquaculture using BioHaven technology combined with wisdom from SE Asia

Summary: Native minnows are an established and widespread solution for keeping disease-bearing insects under control.  Brush-park aquaculture has been practiced for centuries in SE Asia where the yield per acre is phenomenal.  This case study documents how we have created ideal conditions at the Shepherd Research Center to support a burgeoning population of fathead and stickleback minnow, following the brush-park principles.  The study was conducted by Dr. Mark Reinsel and Patrick Hurley in the summer of 2013.

BioHaven FTW Streambed treats private sewage lagoon

Location: Lodi, California
Summary: A BioHaven Streambed FTW installed in a wastewater retention pond reduced levels of ammonia, total nitrogen, BOD and TSS by up to 99%, 78%, 96% and 95%, respectively.  The visual appearance and odor of the pond were noticeably improved after BioHaven installation.

BioHaven technology is successfully used to protect and restore sensitive coastlines

Location: Louisiana, USA
Summary: Protection and restoration of sensitive coastal areas is a key use of BioHaven systems.  The proven wave-dampening qualities of the BioHaven Matrix allows it to function as a breakwater, absorbing energy and protecting the shoreline from further damage.  Its ability to act as a sediment trap enables marsh grasses to be re-established and thrive in areas where they have disappeared.  The projects covered by this case study have been hugely successful, and have garnered a Gulf Guardian award for Shell Oil, a key proponent of this technology.

BioHaven Floating Islands technology enables this Louisiana wastewater facility to stay in compliance and win an EPA award in the process

Location: Elayn Hunt Correctional Facility, St. Gabriel, Louisiana

This Louisiana DEQ-funded project achieved the best nutrient uptake recorded to date in the US using BioHaven floating islands.  During a seventeen-month period of monthly sampling, COD, ammonia and phosphate were reduced to consistently manageable levels to keep the facility in compliance.

Successful treatment of industrial stormwater runoff using Floating Island Technology at a site in Billings, MT

Location: Metra Park Industrial Area, Billings, MT, USA
Summary: This two-year study documents the success of an FTW installation in treating light industrial stormwater runoff.

North Carolina Stormwater BMP Study (Bill Hunt Study)

Location: Durham, NC
Summary: A 4-year study of BioHaven Floating Islands in two storm water detention ponds in North Carolina measures the reduction in nine parameters of concern, and finds that the retro fit made good ponds work even better.

Mermaid Pool: Passive Biohavens remove phosphorus in a New Jersey stormwater pond

Location: Mermaid Pool, Somerset County, New Jersey
Summary: This study, undertaken by Princeton Hydro, demonstrates that even without added aeration, BioHaven floating islands qualify as a BMP for removal of phosphorus from stormwater ponds.  They are effective even at low concentrations of 0.1 mg/L.

Successul removal of BOD, TSS and Nitrogen from Landfill Leachate using Floating Island Technology

Location: McLean’s Pit Landfill, Greymouth, New Zealand
Summary: This case study summarizes initial results of the first field-scale application of Floating Island International’s patented floating treatment wetland (FTW) technology to treat landfill leachate. Constructed of post-consumer polymer fibers and vegetated with native plants, FTWs mimic the ability of natural wetlands to clean water by bringing a “concentrated wetland effect” to any water body–in this case, several treatment lagoons.

Marton Waste Water Treatment: First-of-its-kind floating island "Lid" eliminates odor, reduces BOD and cuts annual operating costs

Location: Marton, New Zealand
Summary: In this innovative application of a BioHaven floating island from New Zealand, a blanket or lid is built to cover and treat a pond anaerobically, thereby reducing troublesome odors which had until then plagued the residents of Marton. This treatment option was highly successful in improving the effluent, and saved the city approximately $150,000 in annual operating costs.

Early-Stage Floating Island Achieves Nutrient Removal in Aerated Facultative Wastewater Treatment Lagoons

Location: Wiconisco Township, Pennsylvania, USA
Summary: Results of this case study illustrate the early stages of the FTW technology as passive installations with no integrated circulation or aeration. They represent the first steps in the progression of the FTW technology in wastewater treatment applications. As with any technology, early versions serve as the critical basis for refining and developing more advanced latest generation manifestations (see Rehberg Case Study).

Achieving Significant Nutrient Removal in Aerated Wastewater Lagoons using floating island technology

Location: Rehberg Ranch Residential Subdivision, Billings, Montana USA
Summary: This case study demonstrates the abilities of Floating Islands to significantly reduce nutrient levels in aerated wastewater.  With a coverage area of 6.4%, the treatment lagoon in its first season achieved significantly greater removal rates, in particular of Ammonia (38%) and Total Phosphorus (27%),

Nutrient removal and algae control project in an urban lake in China

Location: Yingri Lake, Jinan, China
Summary: The purpose of this island was to eliminate summer algae blooms by reducing the nutrient loading in this urban lake.  The results were an impressive reduction in carbon, Nitrate and Phosphorus which successfully stopped the algal bloom from happening.

Elevated BioSwales: using floating island technology to treat runoff in streams and ditches

Location: Shepherd, MT and Virginia
Summary: BioHaven matrix has been successfully deployed in the treatment of runoff inside streams and ditches prior to it entering a lake or river.  By form-fitting the swale to the stream channel, circulation is assured, short-circuiting is eliminated and treatment capacity is optimized.

Enhancing fish productivity in the Chicago River: a Masters Capstone project

Location: Chicago River, near Whole Foods
Summary: In this study by Masters student, Josh Yellin, fish numbers were measured at three nearby sites: in open water, under a dock and under a BioHaven floating island.  The BioHaven showed statistically higher numbers of fish than the other two sites.

BioHavens north of Chicago win storm water BMP award for local conservation group

Location: Barrington, IL
Summary: The Citizens for Conservation used BioHaven floating islands to augment a wetland for storm water treatment in a housing sub-division in Barrington, IL.  Their algae problem disappeared and dissolved oxygen levels went up - and Sandhill cranes successfully reared chicks on the islands.

Fish Fry Lake - 2014 Update

Location: Shepherd, Montana
Summary: This case study continues where the previous one left off, covering year two of the fish harvest which is being intentionally used as a means to remove phosphorus from the nutrient-rich water of Fish Fry Lake. Fish growth rates, as a result of the BioHaven substrate, continued to be well above average, and the pounds of phosphorus removed were carefully documented. The stewardship and measurement program described here is ongoing.

From Phosphorus to Fish - stewarding Fish Fry Lake for optimum water quality enhancement

Location: Shepherd, Montana
Summary: This is a report covering the first year where fish harvest was intentionally used as a means to remove phosphorus from the nutrient-rich water of Fish Fry Lake, in the agricultural area of Eastern Montana. Fish growth rates, as a result of the BioHaven substrate, were found to be well above average, and the pounds of phosphorus removed were carefully documented. The stewardship and measurement program described here is ongoing.

Floating Islands Provide Alternative Nesting Habitat for Caspian Terns

Location: Dutchy Lake, Oregon & Sheepy Lake, California, USA
Summary: Bird monitoring results have demonstrated that floating islands can provide secure nesting habitat for Caspian terns and other bird species in areas where no natural nesting habitat exists, and where construction of rock islands is not feasible. Two recent projects have enhanced recovery of salmonids (salmon and steelhead) by encouraging relocation of Caspian terns to areas far from where juvenile salmonids migrate. Floating islands offer a potentially effective habitat alternative to traditional rock islands if the water depth is greater than 18 inches, or if the water body cannot be drained for construction of a traditional island.

Floating Island Provides Bass Spawning Habitat

Location: Elephant Butte, New Mexico USA
Summary: The New Mexico Bass Fishing Association's mission is to enhance bass fishing habitat and opportunities within the state. A subgroup of the association, Kids of the Southwest, undertook a project in 2009 to increase the bass population at Elephant Butte, NM. These youth partnered with the New Mexico Game and Fish Department, marina owners and other local interested parties after discovering a Floating Island International licensee, Floating Islands West, which has developed floating botanical gardens to increase fish and other wildlife habitat, along with providing water quality improvements.

Floating island habitat gives endangered bird (Clapper Rail) hope for survival

Location: Arrowhead Marsh, Oakland, California
Summary: This is the  story of how the clapper rail, a nearly-extinct species of bird threatened by rising sea levels and loss of coastal marshland, has been given a new hope by deploying floating islands to biomimic its natural habitat.

Floating Treatment Wetlands to Mitigate Lake Eutrophication: Enhanced Circulation and Nutrient Uptake Expand Fish Habitat

Location: Research Lake near Shepherd, MT, USA
Summary: Simple, cost-effective water treatment strategies show the ability to transform agricultural effluent into world-class fish habitat. This case study discusses an ongoing experiment to monitor the efficacy of a floating treatment wetland (FTW) that incorporates air diffuser technology to lift and circulate water through floating stream beds within the FTW. This combination of FTW and efficient water circulation/aeration is trade-named Leviathan™, a model of BioHaven floating island, and represents a novel approach to address nutrient loading.

A BioHaven® Floating Island is tested in a harsh Marine Environment off the coast of SE Alaska

Location: Elfin Cove, SE Alaska
Summary: Two modules were launched at Elfin Cove, AK, to study the affect of salt water on plants, to find out what biota would colonize the islands and see how the islands would hold up to the forces of Nature in a marine environment.  After a whole winter in the water, the island maintained its buoyancy and structure, and the perennial plants came back in the spring.

Floating Islands Remove Propylene Glycol from Airport Stormwater in an independent study

Location: Bangor, ME, USA
Summary: The following case study demonstrates the capabilities of Floating Island International’s (FII) patented floating treatment wetland (FTW) technology and its ability to purify water by significantly reducing carbon concentrations. Constructed of post-consumer polymer fibers and vegetated with native plants, FTWs mimic the ability of natural wetlands to clean water by bringing a “concentrated wetland effect” to any water body – in this case, an aerated stormwater pond.

Floating Islands Outperform Constructed Wetlands

Location: Rehberg Ranch Residential Subdivision, Billings, Montana USA and McLean’s Pit Landfill, Greymouth, New Zealand
Summary: This case study compares treatment results from Floating Island International’s patented floating treatment wetland (FTW) technology (“floating islands”) with those from standard constructed wetlands. Constructed of post-consumer polymer fibers and vegetated with native plants, FTWs improve upon the ability of natural wetlands to purify water by bringing a “concentrated wetland effect” to any water body. In this study, results from treating municipal wastewater and landfill leachate with either FTWs or constructed wetlands were compared.

Floating Islands' wave dampening characteristics show promise for wave breakers and erosion control in both deep water and on the shoreline

Location: Alden Laboratory, Holden, MA
Summary: Floating Islands show great promise in mitigating wave impact, both close to shore and in deep water.  This study, conducted by Alden laboratory, quantified wave reduction in a controlled setting.  The results have very positive implications for erosion control, stream bank protection and shoreline restoration projects.

Early-stage study shows removal of BPA (estrogen mimicker) by Floating Treatment Wetlands

Location: Test Tanks, Billings, Montana USA
Summary: This elegant study, conducted by two senior high school students as a prize-winning entry in a Science Fair competition (under the supervision of Dr Mark Osterlund), used Betta fish to measure the impact of doses of Bisphenol-A.  This is a chemical pervasive in our waterways which causes fish to become sterile.  When the test fish were subject to the chemical, their gill flares declined rapidly, indicating a loss of virility.  However, when floating islands were present, the fish recovered quickly and were back to normal within 10 days.  This study suggests that more research would be well justified, and very timely.

Proving the Concept: Field Test of Floating Treatment Wetland Technology’s Ability to Treat Simulated Wastewater

Location: Outdoor Test Ponds, Shepherd, Montana, USA
Summary: The following case study summarizes Floating Island International’s first outdoor test of the capabilities of its patented floating treatment wetland (FTW) technology and its ability to clean water by significantly reducing nutrient levels. Using field-scale floating islands with a combination of aeration / circulation, vs a control pond, further performance data was collected to add to the knowledge gained from lab tests.