PUBLIC NOTICE OF INTENTION TO DECLARE EWASO NAROK SWAMP IN LAIKIPIA COUNTY AS A PROTECTED AREA
Ewaso Narok Swamp, is a wetland located in Rumuruti, in the County of Laikipia between latitudes 0°16’01.2″N 36°32’19.9″E along the Eng’are Narok river which ends at Lorian Swamp in Wajir County. The wetland is located in asemi-arid grassland area withfrequent drought and unreliable rainfall of less than 714 mm and high temperatures. This causesthe size of the swamp to fluctuatebetween 5 and 19.5 km2 between dry and wet seasonseach year.The water in the swamp emanates from Nyandarua ranges, Lake Ol’Bolossat catchment areas as well as tributaries feeding into Eng’are Narok river. These include Nanyuki, Burguret, Likii, Ontulili, Sirimon Timau rivers, Eng’are Ngobit, Moyok, Pesi and Mutara rivers. Ewaso Narok river is a tributary of Ewaso Nyiro North river which is the main source of water for five counties with an estimated total population of 2,024,677. These are Nyandarua, Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu and Wajir counties.
Ewaso Narok Swamp is a biodiversity hotspot andacts as a sponge, absorbing excess storm from heavy rainfall, thereby ensuring flow regulation/ flood control and soil erosion prevention. The wetland vegetation absorbs nutrients and toxic substances from inflowing water thereby improving the quality of water downstream.
Ewaso Narok Swamp is currently facing environmental threats which if not abated may lead to its extinction thereby affecting the livelihoods of people who depend on Eng’are Narok river. Some of the threats affecting the wetland include human encroachment, excessive de-vegetation of the wetland for cultivation, construction materials, and heavy water abstraction for irrigation. This has led to the reduced water volume in the river resulting into public and human-wildlife resource- use conflicts in the area.
In this regard, pursuant to section 42 of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, 1999, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry on recommendation from NEMA intends to declare the wetland a protected area and impose such restrictions to protect the wetland. Consequently, members of the public are hereby invited to make representation and/or submit memoranda or petitions in regard to the proposed declaration within Thirty (30) days of the publication of this notice.
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