Official Magazine of the Nature Society (Singapore)
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Given the compromise that was eventually forged between NSS and NSRCC on 22 April 2002, what is the future for the Kranji Bund Marshes?
The compromise allows for a 60 m stretch from the shoreline of the North Kranji Bund Marsh to be retained as a sort of 'buffer' for the wetland birds. The golf course will take up about 60 ha out of the 74 ha on leasehold for the project. This means that about 14 ha of marshes will be retained, amounting to only about 28 per cent of the original marshland of the estimated 50 ha. This is an improvement from NSRCC's original plan of leaving only about 8 ha out of the golf course area for conservation, but still constitutes a hefty curtailment of the marsh habitat.
Also of serious concern is the alteration of the hydrology of the marshes, given that the golf course will entail that rainwater run-off from the high ground along the existing canal and channels will be obstructed or redirected elsewhere rather than filtered through the marshes - leading to some level of dehydration and also the loss of regular waterflushes from upland, which is critical to productivity and biodiversity.
To offset or minimise these negative effects, serious consideration must be given to mitigation and containment measures such as proper ecological screens, stepping stones, green corridors, sustainable water-flows and so forth. For the long-term viability of the marshland, it is now critical that the remnant North Kranji Bund Marsh be integrated into the South Kranji Bund Marsh, inclusive of the shoreline at the Kangkar arm of the Reservoir further south, as one conservation entity - to be left undeveloped and fully protected as a refuge and source of propagation for the marshland wildlife in the remaining northern sector (see map). Saving the remaining marshes will ensure that not only an area with a rare habitat together with all the wildlife that is adapted to its water-logged conditions will survive, but also that an equally rare and lovely landscape of open horizons and open skies be left as another invaluable green lung for highly stressed urbanised Singaporeans now and for the future.
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