World Wetlands Day 2003: Kenya

World Wetlands Day 2003: Kenya

6 January 2004



Lake Bogoria (formerly known as Lake Hannington) was designated as Kenya's third Ramsar Site in April 2001. It is located at 0° 11' - 0° 20' N latitude and 36° 07' E - 36° 15' E longitude, and at an altitude of 963 m above sea level. It is one of a series of alkaline saline lakes in the Eastern (or Gregory) Rift Valley. The lake covers as area of approximately 34 km² and has a catchment area of 1,207 km² (present study). Lying on the floor of the Rift Valley, the lake is 17km long and has a maximum width of 4 km. The maximum recorded depth of the lake is 8.5 m. The Lake's salinity is generally about 35%, conductivity ranges from 10mS/cm to 70 mS/cm with an average alkalinity of 133.9 meq 1-1, and the pH range falls between 9.8 and 10.3. Ecologically, the lake constitutes critical refuge for lesser flamingo feeding on Spirulina platensis while the terrestrial ecosystem comprise a thin lake shore fringe made up of Sporobolus spicatus and Sporobolus laevigatus and a surrounding Acacia - Salvadora woodland. It is a Critical habitat for the endangered Greater Kudu and other mammalian species. It has high biodiversity values, a critical habitat for the northern avaian migrants, an important revenue base in terms of tourism and socio-economic and cultural significance.

The World Wildlife Fund For Nature-Lake Bogoria Community Based Wetlands Project is a community-based wetlands conservation project in the Lake Bogoria National Reserve (LBNR) and its catchment. The project is aimed at maintaining the biodiversity and ecological values of the lake and its catchment, while providing improved benefits from LBNR to the local people living around it.

Last year's WWD celebrations were undertaken in two phases: Build up activities towards the WWD and on the material day. Build up activities were undertaken during the week and included immediate actions to mitigate threats identified by the local community and other key stakeholders in the conservation of Lake Bogoria. On the material day, awareness creation and awards were given to different categories of stakeholders who had made outstanding contributions towards conservation of Lake Bogoria and its associated wetlands.

Build up activities

1. Gulley erosion control: Members of the local community including Community leaders and County Council Staff were mobilised with the facilitation of Lake Bogoria Community Based wetlands Project to rehabilitate gulleys caused by erosion at Kesubo Swamp. The Swamp is an important wetland to the Lake ecosystem. The Participants employed soil erosion control measures with the guidance of Soil and Water Conservation Officer from the Ministry of Agriculture.

2. Clean up Campaign: A clean up campaign at the Local Trading Centre (Loboi) involving local leaders, residents, business community, County Council staff and neighbouring Schools was undertaken. The exercise was preceded awareness creation and education by The Public Health Officer who led the exercise.

3. Eradication of invasive species: An invasive species in the area was identified as a potential threat to the Lake ecosystem especially inside Lake Bogoria National Reserve. Students from two neighbouring schools were mobilised together with the County Council staff to undertake the exercise.

World Wetlands Day Commemoration.

1. Presentation of awards: Different categories of stakeholders who had done outstanding contribution towards conservation of Lake Bogoria were awarded. A select Committee was set up to vet nominees using a defined assessment criterion. The categories included farmers, women groups and schools. The criteria included outstanding activities in soil and water conservation, Tree planting, Tree nursery establishment, environmental management and school Presentations during WWD.

2. Study tour: One of the award winning schools was visited where the participants toured the school farm, tree nursery, soil and water conservation site and forest site.

3. Presentations: Students from different Schools that had won in the presentation category performed. These included poems, skits, songs and comedies.

4. Speeches: Invited guests, local leaders and Lake Bogoria Community Based wetland Project staff created awareness through speeches centred on the meaning of WWD, Ramsar Convention, importance of wetlands, threats and planned activities to mitigate the threats.

WWF-Lake Bogoria Community Based Wetlands Project
Lake Bogoria National Reserve
PO Box 43, Marigat, Kenya
Tel/Fax: + 254 (0)51 215312