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iraq marshes restoration

The restoration of southern Iraq’s Mesopotamian marshes is now a giant ecosystem-level experiment. By the year 2000 up to 90% of the marshes were destroyed and their inhabitants fled, mostly due to the large scale drainage during the Saddam Hussein regime. or redistributed. This will require the allocation of 5.25 billion sq. Freshwater marshes and other wetlands once covered about 11,500 square miles of Iraq’s south, and 15,400 square miles across all of Iraq. The draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes occurred in Iraq and to a smaller degree in Iran between the 1950s and 1990s to clear large areas of the marshes in the Tigris-Euphrates river system.Formerly covering an area of around 20,000 km 2 (7,700 sq mi), the main sub-marshes, the Hawizeh, Central, and Hammar marshes and all three were drained at different times for different reasons. A large part of the marshlands, together with three ancient cities, has now been inscribed  on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. For more than 6,000 years, the marshlands of southern Iraq played a major role in sustaining the agriculture, economies and livelihoods of those residing in the Fertile Crescent. [Kyna Powers; Library of Congress. Now a major restoration programme has … on Facebook, Head Office The Netherlands, Living in arched reed houses and relying on water buffalo along with rice, barley, wheat and pearl millet for sustenance, the inhabitants of these wetlands – the so-called Marsh Arabs – maintained for centuries a lifestyle that was both unique and separate from the rest of the Middle East. Last July, UNESCO designated Iraq's marshes as a world heritage site. +31 (0) 318 660 910, E-mail: [email protected], P.O. 1. Keywords: WQI, Iraqi Marshes, Restoration, Nature Iraq. When Allied forces entered Iraq in 2003, the marshes were only 7 percent of their original size, and the area’s population had dwindled from 500,000 to 125,000. The Iraq marshes : restoration activities. With the increase of living population it has been put under tremendous pres- 3 Bilder Photo Gallery: Hope for Iraq's Marshes 1 / 3 Saddam Hussein drained the unique wetlands of southern Iraq as a punishment to the region's Marsh Arabs who had backed an uprising. Tel. Conserving and restoring the iconic marshes of Southern Iraq. The word ‘majnoon’ in Arabic means ‘crazy’, referring to the excessive amounts of oil. All images are copyrighted to their respectful owners and we make every effort to credit photographers. In the ensuing two and a half decades, many of the exiled Swamp Arabs have set up lives and businesses for themselves in the cities and are wary of returning to a life without the amenities of contemporary living. Draining of The Marshes. The Iraqi Marshlands are home to the rare Sacred Ibis and the threatened Iraq babbler, which has finally returned after decades. The USAID Iraq Marshlands Restoration Program (IMRP) supported the rehabilitation of Iraq's Mesopotamian marshland ecosystem, drained by the Saddam Hussein regime in the 1990s, through strategic reflooding, improved management and social development. Iraq's Famed Marshes Are Disappearing—Again A decade after the restoration of their once fruitful wetlands, the Marsh Arabs are struggling to cope with the country's water shortage. The effects of climate change are further damaging the prospect for the marshes’ restoration. Legal Statement. In 2003, DAI began work on this U.S. Agency for International Development-funded project to tackle the environmental and development challenges facing the marshes and their people. Box 471 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Thanks to this restoration, the marshes currently cover approximately 40% of their initial surface, and the Iraqi Government aims to make this 75% by 2035. +31 (0) 318 660 910 UNEP-UNESCO Joint Project in Iraq, Share this post: “You can’t replace the ecosystem but you can use the wetlands to treat urban wastewater,” Pournelle said. Introduction . The biggest impact on the marshes of Iraq however has been from Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime. Marsh Arab Abu Sabah paddles his boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad. “It’s like pouring water onto a cheap sponge,” Pournelle said. Hassan Janabi, Iraq’s minister of water resources told the Guardian, Om Hussein, a Marsh Arab, told National Geographic. The long-term recovery of the Iraq marshlands is in doubt because of uncertainties over water supplies to the wetlands, research suggests. We safeguard and restore wetlands for people and nature. curtr@duke.edu Comment in Science. meters of freshwater every year. The famous Mesopotamian Marshlands in the lower floodplains of the Euphrates and the Tigris are the largest wetland in the Middle East. The Mesopotamian marshes of southern Iraq had been all but destroyed by Saddam Hussein's regime by the year 2000. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, Now large sections of the marshes have been restored, and in places the reed beds once again stretch as far as the eye can see. In 2003, DAI began work on this U.S. Agency for International Development-funded project to tackle the environmental and development challenges facing the marshes and their people. This action displaced 200,000 to 250,000 Ma’dan (Marsh Arabs) and severely harmed an important ecosystem. Alwash has seen that Iraq’s marshes still exist, and though not in their former glory, he says, “there is hope.” Lubick is a Geotimes staff writer. 2008, and Iraq presently has one site, The Hawizeh Marshes, designated as a Wetland of International Importance. Apr 18, 2020 - Explore Omar Al-Douri's board "Marshes of Iraq", followed by 141 people on Pinterest. After the fall of the regime and end of the wars around 40-60% of the marshes were reflooded again. 7 Minute Read Iraq Marshlands Restoration Project. Richardson CJ(1), Reiss P, Hussain NA, Alwash AJ, Pool DJ. The Iraq Marshes: Restoration Activities Showing 1-4 of 11 pages in this report . As a result, according to the United Nations, more than 40 percent of southern Iraq's marshes have been regenerated. The Iraq Marshes: Restoration Activities Summary During the 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained approximately 90% of the Iraqi marshes. Restoration attempts. Keywords: WQI, Iraqi Marshes, Restoration, Nature Iraq. The environmental and military campaign desiccated the marshlands, destroyed the environment, burnt villages, and drove hundreds of thousands of the indigenous ma'dan population into external exile or internal displacement. Uncontrolled release of water in many areas is resulting in the return of native plants and animals, including rare and endangered species of birds, mammals, and plants. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Get this from a library! Water is an essential natural resource for sustaining life . If you own rights to any of the images and they are not credited, or you do not wish them to appear on our site, please contact us at [email protected]. Designed to emulate the features of natural wetlands, a constructed wetland acts as a biofilter to remove sediments and pollutants from the wastewater before channeling the cleaner water into parts of the wetlands that scientists hope to revive. Iraq Marshlands National Park is a prototype of successful ecological and cultural restoration, demonstrating that when enough water remains to sustain the Marshes, cultural knowledge has been retained and passed on to future generations. Identification of further opportunities for marshland restoration, involving the SIPD staff, local communities and authorities. (Reuters). Water availability is still constraining both marshland restoration and the oil industry. Solutions need to be found so that the precious river water available is used wisely for the marshes, drinking water and agriculture, and that the oil industry does not compete for water or pollute the area. Nature Iraq is profiled in John Antonelli’s short film Marshland Dreams, which focuses on the work of Azzam Alwash, Nature Iraq’s founder, and the restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshlands. The iconic Mesopotamian Marshlands in Iraq, often referred to as the ‘Garden of Eden’, also contain the giant Majnoon oil fields. Due to the geographical location and ecological factors of the Fertile Crescent, a crescent-shape fertile area running from the basins of the Nile in Egypt, northwards along the Mediterranean coast in Palestine and Israel, and southwards again along the Euphrates and the Tigristow… Uncontrolled releases of Tigris and Euphrates River waters after the 2003 war have partially restored some former marsh areas in southern Iraq, but restoration is failing in others because of high soil and water salinities. But things changed rapidly in 1992, when former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein – angered by claims that the Marsh Arabs were harboring defeated Shia rebels – decided to punish them by sending engineers to divert the Tigris and Euphrates rivers away from the marshes. Read previous editions of our newsletter. Keywords: functional assessment,Iraq,Mesopotamia,restoration,wetlands With the increase of . Market data provided by Factset. The first study to look at the marshes' recovery warned that increased water demand from farmers and cities could lead to only a portion being restored. To that end he established Nature Iraq, an organisation dedicated to the protection and restoration of Iraq’s natural heritage. The Iraq Marshes: Restoration Activities Summary During the 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained approximately 90% of the Iraqi marshes. The Iraq marshes : restoration activities. Last July, UNESCO designated Iraq's marshes as a world heritage site. Here Shell (Shell Iraq Petroleum Development – SIPD) is developing a very large project, which overlaps with the only Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in Iraq. The lush marshes of Iraq are regarded by some as the original Garden of Eden, but they were drained and decimated by Saddam Hussein. 2005 Feb 25;307(5713):1186-9. This action displaced 200,000 to 250,000 Ma’dan (Marsh Arabs) and severely harmed an important ecosystem. Introduction . Demonstration that re-flooding of currently dried out land can revitalise biodiversity and benefit local communities, and therefore needs to be seriously taken into consideration in future planning of marsh restoration and hazard reduction. Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources last summer dredged up tons of mud to create 43 islands, with one island dedicated completely to infrastructure projects such as a classroom and a filtration system to make the salty marsh water potable. Thanks to this restoration, the marshes currently cover approximately 40% of their initial surface, and the Iraqi Government aims to make this 75% by 2035. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Azzam returned to Iraq to help restore the marshes. Market data provided by Factset. The wetlands were severely damaged by past drainage and warfare. Water availability is still constraining both marshland restoration and the oil industry. The Mesopotamian Marshes, also known as the Iraqi Marshes, are a wetland area located in Southern Iraq and Southwestern Iran. Marsh Arab women iraq Marshes, and some Marsh Arab tribes returned to reclaim their lives. The wetlands were severely damaged by past drainage and warfare. Efforts to rehabilitate the marshes have returned water to about 40% of the former marshland. FAwzi Et Al. IUCN West Asia On-going dialogue with Shell on the planning and design of all installations and activities so that they do not affect the marshes. When the Saddam government fell in 2003 following the U.S. invasion, many scientists called for the restoration of the marshes as a priority. The restoration potential of the Mesopotamian marshes of Iraq. Uncontrolled releases of water partially restored some areas, whereas restoration failed in other areas because of high soil and water salinity (Richardson et al. But moving the former residents back will not be easy. of water for restoration is in question, which suggests that only a portion of the former marshes may be restored.Also, landscape c onnectivity between marshes is greatly reduced, causing concern about local species extinctions and lower diversity in isolated wetlands. in abundance and free gift of nature. But that doesn’t mean that the area, and the lifestyle of its former residents, can’t be saved. The billion dollar retaliation project was disastrous – turning the almost 20,000-square-miles of marsh into a virtual desert and displacing the half million people who called the region home. From the 1950s to the 1990s, the marshes lost a colossal 90% of its total area. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. The Iraqi Government’ s current goal is to restore the “The water just turns into a toxic sludge.”, Satellite view of the wetlands in southern Iraq in February 2010 The first study to look at the marshes' recovery warned that increased water demand from farmers and cities could lead to only a portion being restored. Pournelle, along with her colleagues at USC and the University of Basra in Iraq, believe that the best way to help restore the region is through constructed wetlands. Turkey alone has built at least 34 large dams on the Euphrates and Tigris and their tributaries. Now the boats have engines so it takes no time to get the grasses," Om Hussein, a Marsh Arab, told National Geographic. Alwash has written a book about the restoration effort, “Eden Again: Hope in the Marshes of Iraq,” due out in July. “The end game,” she said, “is where Iraqis get the idea that a destroyed wetlands needs to be fixed by preserving the existing wetlands.”, Get all the stories you need-to-know from the most powerful name in news delivered first thing every morning to your inbox. I came back for the restoration of the marshes, a mythical place of my childhood. Author information: (1)Duke University Wetland Center, Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University, Box 90333, Durham, NC 27708, USA. Get this from a library! From the 1950s to the 1990s, the marshes lost a colossal 90% of its total area. “The reflooding of the marshes is a great example of Iraq rising from the ashes of destruction,” says Azzam Alwash, the founder and CEO of Nature Iraq, a local NGO that has helped to spearhead the restoration of Iraq’s marshes. The other two parts of the marshes were designated as Ramsar sites in 2014. Watch the film below, and learn more about Nature Iraq’s ongoing work in the marshes. In this presentation, I will include interviews with people involved in restoration and monitoring of the marshes from before the Iraq war to present: this provides a human perspective on the condition of the al Ahwar marshes, and will give voice and credibility to cultural memories and sense of place. The Netherlands, Tel. This will require the allocation of 5.25 billion sq. Scott Pelley Reports on the Restoration of Iraq's Marshlands. A United Nations Environment Program assessment of the Iraq marsh restoration in 2006 concluded that roughly 58 percent of the marsh area present in the mid-1970s had been restored in the sense that standing water was seasonally present and vegetation was reasonably dense. Alwash has written a book about the restoration effort, “Eden Again: Hope in the Marshes of Iraq,” due out in July. 1. “After the U.S. invasion in 2003, a lot of people tried to knock down the dams and dikes,” Jennifer Pournelle, a professor at the University of South Carolina who has spent the majority of her academic career studying the ancient civilizations that once thrived along Iraq’s southern marshes, told Fox News. While Thesiger’s words proved prophetically true, recent efforts look to not only bring back that lost way of life but add some modern comforts to the marsh’s inhabitants. Extensive areas are still littered with one of the highest densities in the world of mines and unexploded ordinance. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. (NASA). Contribution to the development and review of a Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), on baseline surveys for biodiversity and the importance for local communities and the regional economy. The restoration of southern Iraq’s Mesopotamian marshes is now a giant ecosystem-level experiment. Congressional Research Service.] The marshes of southern Iraq have many friends but more enemies, and the enemies are winning.Three decades after the destruction of the celebrated reedbeds and buffalo-grazing swamps of Mesopotamia by Eden Again works for the restoration of the southern marshes which were the target of a campaign by the Iraqi government in the early to mid nineties. Uncontrolled release of water in many areas is resulting in the return of native plants and animals, including rare and endangered species of birds, mammals, and plants. Now, only about 1,150 square miles, or 10 percent, remain. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper. An Iraqi Marsh Arab woman paddles her boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, … PDF Version Also Available for Download. The long-term recovery of the Iraq marshlands is in doubt because of uncertainties over water supplies to the wetlands, research suggests. Draining of The Marshes. The Financial Times has good news from the region that has become a symbol of Saddam Hussein’s erstwhile tyranny:. Efforts to rehabilitate the marshes have returned water to about 40% of the former marshland. We are working with Shell to minimise the negative impacts of oil and gas development on the biodiversity of the marshes and the ecosystem services they provide and to help restore them. “But when you drain a marsh, you can’t just put water back in because you just get muck.”. Acknowledging the difficulties that lie ahead, Pournelle said that it’s ultimately up to Iraqis to take matters into their own hands if they want to right Saddam Hussein’s wrong. Since the marshland was destroyed in the early 1990s, numerous dams have been built on both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to irrigate land not just in Iraq but in neighboring Turkey and Syria. Congressional Research Service.] For more information on Iraq marsh restoration projects, visit the Eden Again Project , sponsored by the Iraq Foundation, and the Duke University Wetland Center . Researchers say that it is probably not feasible to bring the Iraqi wetlands back to their original size – given the damming upstream and the years the ecosystem has spent without water. (Reuters). You've successfully subscribed to this newsletter! “The reflooding of the marshes is a great example of Iraq rising from the ashes of destruction,” says Azzam Alwash, the founder and CEO of Nature Iraq, a local NGO that has helped to spearhead the restoration of Iraq’s marshes. Meanwhile, the Center for Restoration of the Iraqi Marshes (CRIM), an organization of several Iraqi ministries created last fall in Venice, will put together a “master plan.” “We need an international and Iraqi consensus,” says Thomas Rhodes, an American ecologist and head of USAID's southern Iraq region based in Basra. Identification of environmental issues and stakeholders. In a sense, it is a symbol of the restoration of Iraq as a whole.” The 1,000-square-kilometer (385-square-mile) national park in Iraq’s Central Marshes will tangibly protect and promote the marshes and oblige policymakers to consider the needs of Iraq’s marshes, as well as their human and animal inhabitants. The marshes are home to hundreds of thousands of birds and are a stopover point for many migratory birds, including several ducks, pelicans and herons as they travel from Central Asia to Africa. living population it has been put under tremendous pres- Water is an essential natural resource for sustaining life and environment, which is always thought to be available in abundance and free gift of nature. Through all of this, a small part of the marsh on the border with Iran has remained as a green oasis and is the only Ramsar wetland of international importance in Iraq: the Hawizeh Marsh. Keywords: functional assessment, Iraq, Mesopotamia, restoration, wetlands [Kyna Powers; Library of Congress. 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