By Dr. Ho Hua Chew
One year has elapsed since the launch of NSS’ Kranji Reservoir (Marsh) Adoption under the PUB’s ABC Waters Programme. Much has transpired during this time and here are some updates:
Kranji Nature Walks
Twelve nature walks at Kranji Marsh were conducted for the whole of 2009. Six of these trips were organized for the public as part of our outreach programme; four walks were conducted for NSS members; the remaining two trips were for corporate and social organizations. All trips had an average of 20 participants. The Education Group also held a “Fun at Kranji Marsh” session for 25 NSS Kids and their parents/caregivers, totaling 70 participants in all.
Pond Restoration and Birdlife
The restoration of the large marshy pond was completed in November 2009, which involved the clearing of unwanted vegetation that had overwhelmed the pond for many years. Now, two thirds of this pond comprises open water free of vegetation, with two small low-lying islands created from the dugged-out mud, which also helped deepen some water stretches. Several fallen tree-branches have been planted at strategic points in the pond to serve as bird perches. The smaller open pond has been left alone for the time being.
The big slabs of concrete lining the main track to the ponds were moved to the site of the Seaside Mempari tree (Milletia pinnata), just by the edge of the pond. These concrete slabs now encircle the tree at a safe distance to prevent soil compaction, serving as seats under the tree’s shade where one can enjoy scenic views of the pond and marshy landscape.
The Red-Wattled Lapwing (4 birds) has made a welcome appearance at the new islands created in the pond. Previously, for many years, these birds have avoided the pond area, restricting themselves to the field of the Mediacorp Transmission Station next door. Also new to the pond is an Intermediate Egret that likes to forage at its far end. The Purple Swamphen and Purple Heron, both of which like to lurk in and around the aquatic vegetation, are now easier to spot. Brown Shrikes and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters have been frequently observed at the marshy pond using the planted branches as vantage perches. This pond restoration will be followed by periodic maintenance to prevent aquatic vegetation from overwhelming the open waters again.
Continual monitoring of the types of butterflies, dragonflies and birdlife found at Kranji Marsh are periodically carried out. Prior to the implementation of the pond restoration work, we completed an inventory of the plants, birds, dragonflies and butterflies found in and around the edges of the two ponds. Subsequent monitoring will give us a good picture of the results of the pond restoration work.
Rain-shelter and Eco-toilet
The area chosen to site a rain-shelter and eco-toilet comes under the Singapore Land Authority (SLA). This site is at the entrance to the ponds, close to the Kranji Pumping Station. Approval for the rain-shelter was sought from SLA but was not given. For your information, all dry land at the edges of the two ponds fall under the authority of SLA. We are currently using a bus to act as a rain-cum-lightning shelter, as well as to ferry participants to and from our meeting point at Kranji Reservoir Dam Carpark. This has proven to be highly convenient. At present, there is only one Kranji countryside shuttle service to Neo Tiew Lane 2, but the service starts late at 9 am.
Shrubs will soon be planted at the small bund dividing the two ponds, stretching one-third of the way from the back end of the ponds. This exercise is meant to attract butterflies and more bird species to the edges of the two ponds. The Bird, Plant and Butterfly Interest Groups will assist in terms of recommending the various shrub species that can be planted.
The Conservation Committee would like to thank the following people for helping out in the implementation of the Kranji Reservoir Adoption Programme in its various manifestations (nature walks, pond restoration, biodiversity surveys): Leong Kwok Peng, Michelle Sim, Tay Kheng Soon, Stephen Lau, Gloria Seow, Timothy Pwee, Lena Chow, Angie Ng, Gerard Francis, Joseph Lai, Yap Von Bing, Wong Chung Cheong, Anuj Jain, Allan Teo, Margie Hall, Wing Chong, Lim Kim Chuah, Alan Owyong, Willie Foo, Kenneth Kee, Doreen Ang, Peng Ah Huay, Ian and Freda Rickword, Gan Cheong Weei, Simon Chan, Steven Chong, Tang Hung Bun, Cheong Loong Fah.
Note: This article was also published in Nature News Jan-Feb 2010 issue. It can be downloaded from http://www.nss.org.sg/naturenews.html
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