Lake Naivasha Wetland Rehabilitation Project. Northern swamp regeneration

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1 Lake Naivasha Wetland Rehabilitation Project Northern swamp regeneration

2 Introduction Wetlands are essential ecological features in any landscape. They are the primary habitat for hundreds of species of waterfowl as well as many other birds, fish, mammals and insects. Wetlands naturally act like giant sponges, slowing the flow of surface water and reducing the impact of siltation and excess nutrients into the lake. Lake Naivasha is threatened by deforestation up-stream, which is now causing major siltation problems and an excess of nutrients carried down by the rivers. In 1998, during the heavy rain caused by El-Niño, the Gilgil and Malewa rivers eroded deeply into its river course, causing the natural drainage of the 8-km northern swamp to be adversely affected. In addition, the upper catchment deforestation is now causing a massive transport of silt to access Lake Naivasha directly.

3 Lake Naivasha Ecosystem The freshness of the water has led to the establishment of a unique biodiversity around Lake Naivasha (over 60 large wildlife mammals and 400 birds species). Lake Naivasha is also host to the most intensive export farming in Kenya with more than 50,000 people employed directly and over 245,000 people indirectly. Lake Naivasha is an important international tourism destination due to its uniqueness. The principal water flow is from the Aberdare Ranges and The Kinangop plateau, by means of two major rivers, the Gilgil and the Malewa Rivers. The northern swamp lies on private property, home to the delta of both rivers. It is in a strategic position to protect this unique environment. The preservation of the lake depends on the re-establishment of the delta of the two rivers as this would stop the siltation and pollution into the main lake. Siltation is causing decreased water levels and increased pollution in the lake; therefore, today more than ever, it is urgent to maintain the present depth.

4 Location and object of the project Original Swamp Gilgil river Malewa river Residual Northern swamp LAKE NAIVASHA The original 1,350 ha Swamp is now reduced to less than 450 ha

5 Object of wetland rehabilitation Prevent the siltation of lake Naivasha. Since the lake is shallow, there is more evaporation (i.e. 1.8 meters of water is lost annually through evaporation) Reduce pollution and excess nutrients reaching the lake Sensitize the Kenyan public about the importance of wetlands by using this project as an example of rehabilitation Re-establish the original north lake wetland Maximize the biodiversity in the Naivasha northern area Encourage the best use of wildlife conservation Create a roosting area for migratory birds Enhance ecotourism in Naivasha Re-establish the former permanent, vigorous papyrus ecosystem

6 The wetland rehabilitation project Rehabilitation of the original 8 km length northern swamp covering an area of about 1,350 hectares with the construction of 5 consecutive small dams that will allow water flow control and sedimentation Restoration of the natural papyrus filter along the 8 km of buffer strip Establish an optimum wildlife breeding area through construction of a diversified depth wetland and enlarge a roosting and feeding area for migratory birds, through proper land shaping and water depth Establish the perfect breeding conditions for Grey Crowned Cranes, now disappearing, for the lack of permanent shallow water vegetation Create facilities (observation points, walking pass, guide training) to facilitate research, ecotourism, education and create a case study for conservation purposes that show wetlands can be rehabilitated successfully in Africa The rehabilitated wetland will be extremely diversified with the establishment of all different areas and microhabitats from seasonal flooding grazing areas to deep free water, adapt to host all kind of animals even large ones like hippos Every dam will be built with a fish ladder in order to create a natural breeding area for fish therefore supporting the economic growth in Naivasha

7 What has already been done to achieve the object In 2009, Marula Estates with its own initiative did study, design and construct the wetland of the first phase (aside project picture). This resulted in enormous improvements of biodiversity. The rehabilitated area is about 1.2 km long and covers an area of 140 ha and it cost 180,000 Euros.

8 Background before the 1 st Phase of rehabilitation Topographical survey carried out with GPS. Surveyed 985 points

9 Background before the 1 st Phase of rehabilitation The selected rehabilitation site within Marula Estates showing the old abandoned channels and clumps of dead papyrus plants The selected rehabilitation site showing the old abandoned channels re-flooded in the wet season but incapable of keeping the papyrus alive as no flooding is able to take effect (note the dead papyrus)

10 Construction works during the 1 st Phase Selected area: construction of fish ladder that allows flooding Shaping the wetland area to maximize the ecosystem's biodiversity

11 1 st Phase of the rehabilitation showing the success of the project Before 4/3/2009 After 5/15/2010

12 First Phase rehabilitation 8 months after establishment: Success of the project

13 Success of the First Phase Rehabilitation

14 Some data Before the 1 st phase of the rehabilitation in the area we counted: 210 bird species, 400 large mammals Today in the wetland area we count: 66 different bird families for a total of 304 species (+45%) One of first 15 Grey Crowned Cranes nesting in the rehabilitated swamp 769 large mammals (+92%) among which 185 zebras, 154 buffalo, 102 hippos, 142 impala

15 What next? The 2 nd Phase Before Since the first phase has been completed successfully and many positive impacts noted it is the intention to extend the project. The next phase would include the area joining the newly rehabilitated wetland and towards the lake, that include an area of 760 hectares, 7 km in length, that will reestablish the old swamp represented by the delta of Malewa and Gilgil rivers 1 st phase 2 nd phase After

16 Requirements for the 2 nd Phase of the project The aim of the rehabilitation is to show that the private sector can assist greatly in conservation, especially in a developing country (as first phase demonstrates) Without private sector support, conservation on private land is impossible (in Kenya 80% of wildlife lives outside protected areas) Private sectors should benefit economically from conservation and should be employed and paid for these requirements that benefit the public In this specific case, several private landowners can contribute to Naivasha conservation with the re-establishment of the northern swamp Private landowners should be compensated for land use, conservation and rehabilitation costs to achieve such beneficial results The cost of construction and realization of such project is estimated to be less than 1500/ha (1/20 of the amount paid by the EU in Europe for similar projects). The cost to maintain, manage and preserve the 2 nd phase of wetlands is estimated on 500 per ha (less than what the EU is paying the European farmers for the same object)

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