project leader
Hans H
2 Second Avenue
Brooklyn (Gowanus)
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Thank you!

the project

The idea behind this art and science experiment is to explore the possible beneficial applications of floating gardens to provide wildlife habitat, filtration and oxygenation of the Gowanus Canal waters. Most importantly, this project will draw attention to environmental issues related to water quality in the Canal. The gardens will be designed to be highly visible from the street so that passing pedestrians will stop and reflect on the gardens. This may be magnified with the presence of an on-site telescope. 

The gardens will be designed by members of the Gowanus Canal Conservancy's volunteer committee, constructed by volunteers, and made largely from recycled and renewable materials. The gardens explore a variety of habitat types such as vegetative gardens with salt-tolerant plants, shellfish cages and colonization substrates, fish habitat, bird perch and nesting platforms, trash collecting skimmers and micro algae pads. We hope that these small islands will be able to help filter the nutrient-heavy, sewage infused Canal water. While we do not expect this small garden initiative to have a significant impact on the overall water quality, we hope this experiment will help to evaluate the feasibility of a larger, more effective floating garden project. This project was launched in its pilot form during the summer of 2011. We are seeking to refine existing concepts, explore new options, and further develop this exciting project.  

the steps

Members of our Volunteer Committee will be responsible for designing the Floating Gardens themselves. Several of these members participated in the previous launch of Floating Gardens in 2011, and they will be building on previous concepts explored during that time. 

Garden designs will be developed concurrently with site selection, ensuring visibility, protection from industrial activities, and accessibility.

There will be two prototyping work shop days where volunteers will design the gardens. The Floating Gardens will then be constructed and launched in their final form by volunteers on August 19th, as part of our "Clean & Green" volunteer program and with support from the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe club.

why we're doing it

This project is an attempt to bring attention to water quality and wildlife habitat issues in the Gowanus Canal. It is also an experiment in bioremediation, and the feasibility of large-scale bioremediation projects in the Gowanus Canal.


TEDxDUMBO is currently seeking people with urban-based projects to present an ‘Action Pitch’, and we were wondering if you might be in town and would want to pitch about Floating Gardens. More details can be found at


1. Plant Material: $180 - Pinelands Nursery 2. Growing Media: $145 - Griffin Greenhouse Supply 3. Wire mesh/ mollusk substrate: $80 - Lowe's 4. Miscellaneous Hardware: $105 - Lowe's 5. Fasteners and Adhesives: $300 - Lowe's 6. Paint: $50 - Lowe's 7. Wood: $125 - Dyke's Lumber 8. Portland Cement: $125 - Lowe's 9. Erosion Control Mesh: $85 - Lowe's 10. Rigid Polystyrene Sheets: $90 - Lowe's 11. Large Barrels/Oil Drums: $750 - Local supplier 12. Waterproofing membrane: $110 - Greschler's Hardware 13. Work Clothes: $750 - Greschler's Hardware project total: $2895 3% credit card = $87 ioby fee = $35 total to raise= $3017

Last month, we were approached by SLO Architecture with the hopes to install their 'Harvest Dome 2.0' in the Gowanus Canal. We will use the ioby funds towards the installation of the floating dome, which is slated to be installed in the canal in the upcoming months. The Harvest Dome, is a giant floating orb, 24 ft in diameter and is made from 450 reclaimed umbrellas floating atop 128 empty two-liter soda bottles. This work of "performance architecture" will be floating in the Gowanus Canal for several months at the 4th/5th St Turning Basin.

RAISED = $390
ioby Platform Fee  waived
3rd Party Credit Card Processing Fee (3%) $11



Thank you!


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Anonymous
  • Anna O.
  • Brayden H.
  • Lisa N.
  • Katherine C.
  • Alexandre D.
  • Erica S.
  • Jessica H.
  • Susannah S.
  • Nadia E.
  • Arthur R.
  • Barbara V.
  • Maria T.
  • Michelle M.
  • Jessica D.
  • Hans H.
  • Anonymous