The series of three demonstration wetlands and the aeration pond in this area were originally designed to help alleviate a pollution problem in Ruby Lake resulting from the waste products of thousands of annually nesting birds. The demonstration garden that we have constructed offers a fascinating glimpse into how wetlands can improve water quality.
Plants are one of the key elements to the successful cleansing capacity of wetland ecosystems. Plants naturally growing in freshwater wetlands have the remarkable ability to remove pollutants in animal and human waste as well as trap and absorb chemical pollutants and toxic metals. Once water has been filtered by native plants, it is once again clean enough to support wildlife.
In order to improve the water quality of Ruby Lake, runnels (or small ditches) bring water from the lake to the Wetland Demonstration Garden. As the water flows through the first three ponds, plants filter out pollutants from bird excrement and allow suspended materials to settle. In the last pond in this garden, extra oxygen is pumped into the water. Then the water is returned to Ruby Lake.
The Wetland Demonstration Garden is too small to cleanse all of the Ruby Lake water. Even so, it showcases how humans can have a positive impact on the environment.