Understanding what riparian edge is, and how it fits into the food web, can help us understand solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss.

Whitetail deer are animals of the edge. Humans are also animals of the edge. If you ever take another airplane flight at night, watch for the patterns of light. They define where people live and concentrate along water’s edge. The structure that many fish seek out is also a form of edge habitat.

  • When it occurs at the waterline it’s particularly favored by a wide range of fish species.
  • Invertebrate life is abundant in such settings, especially when paired with secure habitat.
  • It’s where plants and insects and fish come together.

It’s called riparian edge habitat, and is traditionally the…


Manatees in Florida feed on coastal seagrass, a species at risk from phosphorus surge

a mother and child manatee swimming in clear ocean
a mother and child manatee swimming in clear ocean
Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

The manatees that inhabit Florida’s incredible, variable and complex coastal regions are one of four distinct populations. Ours is the only population in North America, and the creatures are amazing. They are huge and almost fluid, as they undulate and drift through clear water. Imagine an incredibly rotund but concurrently graceful aquatic ballet dancer! On one occasion, ironically, in Clear Water, Florida, I experienced their passive and gentle presence.

Unequivocally, the nuances around their life model require hard science. But it seems like, today at least, human political divisions are being superseded by the manatee. …


Power and Clean Water are Not Mutually Exclusive

One iteration of floating solar integration with BioHaven Floating Islands is the NanoHaven. But there are many integrations for the islands: As protective barriers (from wind and waves), as platforms, and more! The FPV market is ripe for innovation. We can develop solar projects with nutrient removal at the fore.

Today the nascent FPV (Floating PhotoVoltaics) market is confused. As China surges ahead, as France leverages the aggressive marketing efforts of Ciel et Terre (a provider of FPV), as the U.S. flounders around the remnants of “Trumpism,” remarkable opportunities to develop sustainable solar projects are being missed. Italy has actually banned development of solar floating on reservoirs…truly a remarkable and confusing policy in light of the negative impact, at least emotionally, on alternative energy development by serious players like ENEL.

Floating Island International (FII) provides hope to the market. The company was founded in 2005, and currently has over 9,000…


At Shepherd, MT, we are well positioned to grow our own wild food.


How will you move from thought to action in 2021?

Young person of color smiling, sitting on a dock holding a fishing line with a fish she caught on the hook
Young person of color smiling, sitting on a dock holding a fishing line with a fish she caught on the hook
Image 1: A young visitor to Fish Fry Lake learning to fish.

Thinking about natural systems on a planetary basis is not casual thinking. It departs from the norm — you know, “What are we planning to have for lunch today?” as compared to, “How do we protect birds from wind farms?”

Thinking about human lives on a systemic basis isn’t casual thinking either. “How do we tear down dangerous white supremacist infrastructure?”

Thinking about social and ecological challenges can be really difficult and is important. The good news is that people are thinking! Maybe it’s an ancillary benefit of COVID-19, but introspection seems to be more prevalent. …


Any discussion of water and other resources can quickly become a political debate

Pure, clean, water at Shepherd Research Center, being circulated by a floating streambed.

“A good way to ruin wisdom is to make it a bumper sticker.” — Poor Richard’s Modern Almanac

You can’t talk about water as if it’s something static. It has a tendency to move around, visibly or invisibly, usually in a downward motion as liquid, but also upward as vapor. What you do to water you do to everyone, eventually.

If the US sells dirty, high-sulphur coal to China, the mining of it impacts West Virginia streams on the front end. …


Biology is a can of worms. Seriously!

Fish swimming under a floating island where freshwater coral as well as biofilm and diatoms have grown. Heterotrophs, autotrophs, and invertebrates are all doing their work as part of the life cycle.

With that as an opener, let me fill you in. It’s like we are hunting, and there’s a trail to follow. It leads us to our goal… fish. The trail goes up and around, and under, all kinds of obstacles. But by following it, you eventually can pattern your quarry. Once you have the pattern nailed, then it’s a lot easier. A lot more understandable. You can grow fish, and healthy ones to boot!

Every step along the trail kind of glows in the dark… like it’s phosphorescent. In fact, it’s phosphorus that we are following. Phosphorus makes each step…


Mother Nature Doesn’t Like Quick Fixes and End-of-Ditch Stewardship.

Nature is not very linear in her design policy. Crystal development is an exception perhaps, but in general, you can count on nature to blend her solutions. We humans on the other hand, tend to prefer linear fixes. They are easier to understand, for sure. Pop a pill, add chemical, burn it down, tuck it below the surface, short and easy, and usually dead wrong.

We humans have short memories too. I’m a historian, but by nature’s standards we, and our several tens of thousands of years of history are a blip on a dot on the tape of life…


In this short grass prairie region of eastern Montana, the paleo lifestyle is more than eating and working out. For us the paleo lifestyle includes our environment, and how we live within it. The paleo lifestyle is a form of biomimetics — where our paleo nature serves as model.

Anne and I have been following a diet based on pre-agricutural food choices. Being hunters, and loving to eat meats and saturated fat, it suits us perfectly. We grow our own vegetables, eat wild fish from Fish Fry Lake and avoid processed foods, especially sugar and sodas. …


Shepherd Research Center

You won’t find the Shepherd Research Center on a map. That’s because it’s really three places. It is the headquarters of Floating Island International. It is home for me and Anne and our three dogs. And it is a large piece of land, some 340 acres along the Yellowstone River north and east of Billings, Montana. Only I call it the Shepherd Research Center. Everyone else refers to it as one of the other two places. Those are the names you will find on Google search, or in the phone book.

A Living Experiment

I purchased this place twenty years…

Bruce Kania

Inventor. Fisherman. Hunter. Addressing climate change one pond at a time. Growing fish, not algae. Writing from my lake in MT. FloatingIslandInternational.com

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