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On 9 October, 2015 11 persons including 5 International volunteers from Project Abroad-Thailand on improving the hydrology at our new Community Based Ecological Mangrove Restoration(CBEMR) site at Klong Lu area, village no. 3, Klong Prasong District in Krabi province. The site is actually located on an island, Koh Klang, in the Krabi River Estuary where MAP’s EPIC sites are located. The work involved digging channels into the high middle area of the pond after a backhoe had excavated several channels to re-connect the abandon shrimp pond to the natural water canal.
The pond is owned by a family who also running a Klong Lu Homestay in the village. MAP staff have been staying at the homestay since last year during field work for our EPIC CBEMR sites. The owner was interested in joining the project on Mangrove Conservation and Restoration so we are grateful to be working with them at this new site. This restoration site will be also be developed as a mangrove learning center with a short loop mangrove nature trail for the non-formal students and homestay guests who visit Klong Lu.
On Friday the 12th of June, 2015 Projects Abroad joined forces with MAP staff at EPIC site 2. Projects Abroad arrived with a group of 15 volunteers with all hailing from Europe and Canada. There was a constant drizzle all day and nice cloud cover to keep the weather from becoming too hot, making for good working conditions.
Several objectives were on the list for that day with the first being trash pickup. The constant fluctuation of the tides brings trash that gets caught in the site area including large debris and trash, which is mainly plastic. MAP team member, Bobby, worked on repairing the fishnet fencing to keep goats. The second half of the day was spent repairing and rebuilding one side of the pond wall from erosion.
Removing trash and floating wooden debris that has accrued in the pond do to a damaged net over the water flow entrance.
Removing large debris from the pond will help protect sprouting seedlings from being damaged during tidal fluctuations.
Half way through the day lightning and thunder rolled in forcing us to take a hiatus from our activities. We used this time to discuss mangrove conservation and restoration techniques as well as mangrove ecology.
Stamping down the tidal wall reinforcement mud so that the high tide does not go over the wall and erode it.
Washing and cleaning the equipment makes a great end to the day.
Later in the day once the tide had gone to its lowest point and the trash and large debris had been removed we took a series of time-lapse photos for the site. These photos are important for monitoring site restoration progress and having picture evidence of what techniques have been working and what needs improvement. We have standardized the photos for the site and created reference points by placing pieces of PVC pipe in the ground to take pictures from, so that we may have consistency in our site documentation.
Time Lapse photo showing angle “A”, these photos are an easy, cheap and time efficient method of site monitoring.
Key Messages: Cleaning and maintaining the site of debris and trash not only helps protect the seedlings from the constant tidal fluctuations, soil and water contamination but also kept our time-lapse photos looking presentable and set a good example for the local people that trash in the environment should not be a common sight. By adding another mud layer to the pond retaining wall we were able to combat erosion for the time being and continue to control the water level of the pond. Controling the water level in the pond will encourage mud crab colonize the site and help create a more natural habitat for mangrove regeneration.
Tha Sa Nook Village GNF Project site Hydrology Improvement
May 19th, 20th and 21st MAP worked with Tha Sa Nook villagers under the Global Nature Fund (GNF) project in Phang Nga Province.
The objectives are to help improve the hydrology of the abandoned shrimp pond using CBEMR methods and techniques by working with the villagers to improve the land conditions for mangrove to regnerate. When the hydrology is improved adequately mangrove volunteers will start to seed and repopulate the pond. By repopulating the abandoned shrimp farm with mangroves we can create more habitat for fish, improving the catch of local village fishermen and rebuild the ecosystem.
MAP staff Khun Chay discussing hydrology strategy with local village workers
MAP Staff member, Ning, educates the villagers who will work on the project about how improving the hydrology of the pond will lead to mangrove regeneration.
Villagers and MAP intern work on creating a channel to help the water drain properly from the abandoned shrimp pond.
Key Message: A common problem with restoring many abandoned shrimp ponds is the bottom is often low, so poorly drained, remaining wet too long which is a stress for mangrove seedlings. Mangroves prefer to be dry (no standing water) for approximately two-thirds of the time which facilitates good oxygen exchange. The easiest way to partly overcome this problem is to ensure the tidal connection(s) to the pond are wide enough so water can enter and exist at a similar rate to the natural mangrove outside the pond. Smaller hand dug channels, imitating tidal creeks, can help water drain from the site as the bottoms are flat, while the natural mangrove has rolling elevations to facilitate drainage.
Involving the local community is extremely important in the longevity and sustainability of the project. When the local people have a stake in the quality of the ecosystem they will take personal initiative and responsibility for its conservation and restoration. Through awareness building we can help the local people develop conservation techniques and skills to better help them restore and protect their mangrove.
Project Abroad volunteers visit EPIC sites on Koh Klang
On 13th March 2015, a group of international volunteers from Project Abroad gave up their time to help with some EPIC site restoration work. The main objective of the day was to do some hydrological improvement on EPIC Site #1, clear the litter from EPIC Site #2 and install the monitoring plots at the sites which will be used over the next few years to monitor the progress of the restorations.
The group was split into two with one half working on the hydrological improvement at Site 1 and the other half worked on litter pick-up. MAP decided to reward the volunteers by taking them on a boat trip through the mangroves channels of Koh Klang so they could appreciate what a health mangrove ecosystem looks like. Our boatsman was Bang Non, a local conservation leader, who is very much involved in the EPIC project and a member of the project’s Advisory Committee.
Key Message: Hand digging channels to improve hydrology is very hard labour work which often needs on-going adjustments due to erosion or channels are not constructed deep and wide enough.
Work Continues on the CBEMR site at Klong Kum village on Klang Island, Krabi
With the help from Project Abroad, an international volunteer overseas program with a marine and coastal project based in Krabi, and more than a few local community members, work continued on the hydrology restoration of an abandoned pond on Klang Island in the Krabi River estuary. The combined efforts of the multi-national team using shovels and broad hoes effectively continued the work of digging canals through the center of the pond for tidal water access without the use of heavy machinery.
Jim Enright, MAP Asia Coordinator, spent some time with our friends at Projects Abroad showing them around the site, introducing them to mangroves and wetland ecology. He explained the mangrove restoration demonstration site is part of an international project called Ecosystems Projecting Infrastructure and Communities (EPIC) supported by the German Government’s International Climate Initiative (ICI) which is promoting Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) or Eco Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR). This was actually MAP’s first time to work in partnership with Project Abroad in the field and the newcomers took no time at all jumping right into the work, plenty willing to get their hands dirty. In addition to the hydrology restoration, the volunteers combed the site, making sure to collect trash to be taken off island.
With the sheer number of workers combined with their enthusiasm, the work progressed more swiftly than anticipated and clear skies, atypical for this time of year, made sure there were no interruptions. An entire canal running from one edge of the site, through the center, to the other edge was just about completed and careful attention was made that it would meet the goals of the hydrology plan. This canal was specifically designed to maximize mangrove growth. This means that specific consideration was paid to the elevation and width to make sure tidal waters would efficiently flow through and recede as to ensure the mangroves would enjoy the proper ecological environment.
The next steps to be taken on Klang Island will be to build another canal for the site. This one will be wider and deeper to support tidal flushing, good drainage and support silvofisheries for local harvesting and sustainable economic development. Another task will be grading the slopes of the pond banks to increase the area of mangrove habitat.