Adaptive Management to Coral Reef Systems in Kenya: Addressing Pollution ProblemsLatest update February 14, 2019 Started on January 10, 2018
This study looks at water quality in terms of nutrients quality and quantity and examines the impact on coral reefs health coverage along Mtwapa Creek and Mombasa Marine Park and Reserve
This project is made up of 3 scientists (myself, Dr. Margaret and Ms. Nancy Odour). It is supported by members of staff from Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) and Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI). Of note are Josephine Wanza and Gilbert Owato who are pivotal in the success of the project. They spearhead the data collection on the ground and also water sampling. We sort the use of these two because we were trying to promote "barefoot ecologists" and also to promote cooperation among organizations working in the coastal region.
Margaret and I met in our Ph.D. program (Marine and Coastal Management) in Europe and came together to write this project as it overlapped in our areas of interest and specialization i.e. water resource management and ecosystem services. I work in Machakos University while Margaret works in South Eastern Kenya University.
We collect water samples once a month. We take a boat out to the sampling sites in the ocean and collect samples using water sampling bottles. The samples are then stored and transferred to the laboratory for analysis. For the coral health, divers are deployed where they use quadrants to count healthy coral species. The data is compared from month to month. It typically takes about 4-5 hours to move around all 7 sampling sites and takes up to a month to finish data analysis.
The Trident will be helpful in our research especially in monitoring coral health. The area covered by the underground drone is much larger than that covered by divers. We would, therefore, be able to survey a larger part of the coral reefs. I envision using the drone at least twice a year. This would give us good data on coral health and photos/videos to support existing efforts to monitor coral health along the Kenyan coast.
Sustainable development and exploitation of Kenya's marine resources is necessary when focusing on the achievement of The UN summit of Sustainable Development Goals and the country's Vision 2030 plan. Coral reefs play a vital role in sustaining the country's economy in terms of income generation from tourism and fisheries and creating job opportunities for many coastal communities. However, unregulated coastal developments together with expanding human population have been shown to threaten these ecosystems. Nutrients released from the discharged poorly treated and untreated urban and industrial wastewater into the coastal and marine ecosystem have contributed to destruction and degradation in coral reef systems by reducing water quality and enhancing the growth of macroalgae. Changes in reef conditions will affect their ability to provide ecosystem services (ES) that sustain human livelihoods. Conservation and management is, therefore, necessary to ensure the maintenance of the integrity of these systems and improve ES provisions. This study is looking at water quality in terms of nutrients quality and quantity and examining the coral reefs health as well as algal coverage Mtwapa Creek and extending into the Mombasa Marine Park and Marine Reserve, exposed to different nutrient sources in the Kenyan Coast, particularly point pollution from Shimo La Tewa Prison
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