The Boston Society of Architects commissioned NurtureStructure founder Scott Burnham to create the first exhibition of public infrastructure designed to aid and assist nature. (Which later became a book.)

The dozens of international projects on display – most shown for the first time in the US – became a catalyst for local leaders and community members to consider the benefits such projects could bring to the greater Boston area.

It was in this context that The Charles River Conservancy and Biomatrix Water began discussions about installing Biomatrix’s Floating Islands in the Charles River to help clean the water and increase biodiversity. As the Conservancy says on its website:

The Charles River Floating Wetland explores an ecological intervention to reduce harmful algal blooms in the Charles, which threaten the river’s health and limit the feasibility of swimming. Reducing nutrient pollution remains a vital method for preventing blooms, but this approach depends on increasingly complex solutions. Ecological interventions, like the floating wetland, offer an alternative and complementary strategy. Experiments have shown that for water bodies like the Charles, algal blooms can be understood as a symptom of a broken food chain. Our project aims to strengthen the missing link–zooplankton populations–by providing additional wetland habitat.

The Charles River Conservancy

Here is an overview of the project that grew from the partnership. We were honored to be part of it.