Watershed Conservation Programme

Programme Description

The conservation of important watersheds in the area will be focused on improving the natural assets through the preparation and maintenance of the natural resources within the watersheds. This will be done by the transformation of unsustainable practices into social, environmental and economical activities. This programme is designed to create a new avenue for conservation tourism where unique opportunities exist. While enjoying the attractions in the area, customers will be involved in monitoring of water quality, erosion rates & controls, reforestation, species identification and the monitoring of various uses of the rivers. This initiative will aid in the reduction of flooding, manage climate change impact and recreational pressures on the watershed system with the aim to increase biodiversity within the M2M region.

In the Northeast area there are a number of rivers such as the Matura River, Salybia River, Balandra River, Tompie River, Grande Riviere River, Shark River, and Matelot River. These rivers are part of important watersheds within the area. These rivers are considered to be the cleanest in the country. However concerns are mounting as Climate change may negatively impact this situation.

Problem Description 

The water resources in the area is one that will be strongly impacted by climate change. Against a background of increasing demand for potable water, sea-level rise may lead to flooding of lowlands and seawater intrusion into coastal aquifers, while variability in climate may see more intense rainstorms resulting both in increased run-off leading to increased flooding and reduced recharge leading to aquifer depletion. These rivers are not isolated from deforestation, quarrying or natural silting which all increase the risk of increased flooding. Such impacts will have a negative ripple effect on other vital aspects of regional economy such as the domestic, tourism, recreational and agricultural. It is expected that all economic and social sectors will be adversely affected.

Littering: This litter has brought many dissolving and undissolved chemicals and materials into the rivers that has altered the environment of these rivers. The lives of the species that dwell in these rivers and even of us as river users may be seriously threatened if nothing is done. Littering is a serious problem and one of the major challenges in conservation of this waterway. Although there are laws against littering in the country these laws like many others are not properly enforced to ensure compliance.

Farming: Farming is also another threat to the rivers system. Many of the chemicals like the pesticides and weedicides that are used by the farming community in and around the areas find their way back into the water way and alter the quality of the water. Apart from this, farming near the river loosens the soil and increases the amount of erosion and landslides that may take place near the river’s edge and thus this can be one of the reasons for the increase river siltation and the subsequent flooding in these areas.

Land use practices: The land use practices like building of houses, sheds and other structures for both private and state use has also impacted on the river. The WASA treatment plant although it has provided a means to ensure that clean, potable water can be supplied in the area has resulted in physical changes of the river structure. The construction of many residential infrastructure has also changed the landscape around the river and the clearing of trees have alter the surface runoff and water retention. This has all contributed to an increase in sediments in the rivers and thus also changing the shape of the river and quality of the water.

Climate change: Global warming and climate change is continuing to be an increasing threat throughout the world today. The rise in temperature is altering the environment and thus causing serious harm and damage. The extent of the effects of climate change on the river are not specifically known.

Recreational Pressure: The use of these rivers for recreational purposes has caused serious altering of the environment and the introduction to foreign substances into the river. Areas are cleared for camping and liming purposes. Cooking is done and all the ingredients used are washed away into the river. Fires are set and this has also resulted in the use of the timber in the area in their culinary activities. All of these changes have reduced the natural habitat of the river both on land (river bed) and in the water. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are consumed, food is eaten and the excess is usually washed away into the river causing foreign chemical compounds to enter the water ways and thus affect the water quality in the river and its precious ecosystem.

These Problems occur on all the rivers including Matura, Salybia, Balandra, Tompie, Grande Riviere and Matelot on the North East Coast from Matura to Matelot comprimizing the quality of the water in the area and destruction of the biodiversity therein.

Proposed Action

Nature Seeker will initiate the relevant partnerships to protect, conserve and enhance the natural values of important watershed in North East Trinidad to facilitate their sustainable with Matura as the Pilot. The focus will be on reducing the flooding in the area, reforesting degraded areas, monitoring the quality of water, identifying and documenting Fauna and Flora Species and improving the level of education and awareness of the value and importance of the river systems in the area.