The lush marshes of Iraq are regarded by some as the original Garden of Eden, but they were drained and decimated by Saddam Hussein. +31 (0) 318 660 910 This will require the allocation of 5.25 billion sq. “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. All rights reserved. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. 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. 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. 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. Extensive areas are still littered with one of the highest densities in the world of mines and unexploded ordinance. When the Saddam government fell in 2003 following the U.S. invasion, many scientists called for the restoration of the marshes as a priority. Market data provided by Factset. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. 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. Keywords: functional assessment,Iraq,Mesopotamia,restoration,wetlands The wetlands were severely damaged by past drainage and warfare. Reg No: 09099028. Ramsar Convention +31 (0) 318 660 910, E-mail: [email protected], P.O. Efforts to rehabilitate the marshes have returned water to about 40% of the former marshland. Hassan Janabi, Iraq’s minister of water resources told the Guardian, Om Hussein, a Marsh Arab, told National Geographic. 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. Box 471 I came back for the restoration of the marshes, a mythical place of my childhood. Wetlands International and Clingendael Institute were co-conveners, and representatives from the Centre for the Restoration of the Iraq Marshes and Wetlands (CRIMW), the Ministry of Water Resources of Iraq, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deltares, the Universities of Utrecht and Radboud, and Nature Iraq were also present. 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. Marsh Arab Abu Sabah paddles his boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad. The effects of climate change are further damaging the prospect for the marshes’ restoration. However, conservation and restoration of these wetlands face serious constraints due to developments, such as agricultural schemes and large dams further upstream , which reduce the availability of water. Market data provided by Factset. On-going dialogue with Shell on the planning and design of all installations and activities so that they do not affect the marshes. An Iraqi Marsh Arab woman paddles her boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, … 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. 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. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. 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. But moving the former residents back will not be easy. The Iraq Marshes: Restoration Activities Showing 1-4 of 11 pages in this report . 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… To that end he established Nature Iraq, an organisation dedicated to the protection and restoration of Iraq’s natural heritage. meters of freshwater every year. Restoring the wetlands, however, is not as simple as just breaking up the dams and dikes and flooding the area. The Iraqi Marshlands are home to the rare Sacred Ibis and the threatened Iraq babbler, which has finally returned after decades. Horapark 9, 6717 LZ Ede 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. Nature Iraq 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. ofwater for restoration is in question,which suggests that only a portion ofthe 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. 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. 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. While these dams have no doubt helped farmers in drier northern Iraq, they have also prevented the flood pulse from the Taurus and Zagros mountains from flushing out the marshland – leaving only stagnant water in the remaining parts of the region. For more information on Iraq marsh restoration projects, visit the Eden Again Project , sponsored by the Iraq Foundation, and the Duke University Wetland Center . 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. The iconic Mesopotamian Marshlands in Iraq, often referred to as the ‘Garden of Eden’, also contain the giant Majnoon oil fields. Restoration attempts. Water availability is still constraining both marshland restoration and the oil industry. Adding to this quagmire is that earlier efforts to refill the wetlands used waste water from farms, irrigation returns and nearby cities like Basra and Nasiriyah. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper. PDF Version Also Available for Download. Draining of The Marshes. 2008, and Iraq presently has one site, The Hawizeh Marshes, designated as a Wetland of International Importance. Identification of further opportunities for marshland restoration, involving the SIPD staff, local communities and authorities. 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. too far from restoration. 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. Keywords: WQI, Iraqi Marshes, Restoration, Nature Iraq. Now with Hussein dead and a tenuous Iraqi government attempting to bring some semblance of peace to the turbulent nation, officials in Baghdad – along with scientists from the United States – are working to revive what was once the Middle East’s largest wetlands and help the Marsh Arabs return to their ancestral homeland. The lush marshes of Iraq are regarded by some as the original Garden of Eden, but they were drained and decimated by Saddam Hussein. and environment, which is always thought to be available . Legal Statement. The Iraq Marshes: Restoration Activities Summary During the 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained approximately 90% of the Iraqi marshes. [Kyna Powers; Library of Congress. “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. (Reuters). on Facebook, Head Office The Netherlands, An Iraqi Marsh Arab woman paddles her boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad. 2005 , Richardson and Hussain 2006 ). 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. Watch the film below, and learn more about Nature Iraq’s ongoing work in the marshes. "There is modern housing, there's refrigeration, there are roads, schools. 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. Large dams and inefficient agricultural schemes in Iraq and neighbouring countries are increasingly reducing the quantity and quality of water that reaches the marshes even further. Through all of this, only a small part of the marshes on the border with Iran, the Hawizeh Marshes, has remained and is the first Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in Iraq. UNEP-UNESCO Joint Project in Iraq, Share this post: This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, 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. “But when you drain a marsh, you can’t just put water back in because you just get muck.”. The Mesopotamian Marshes, also known as the Iraqi Marshes, are a wetland area located in Southern Iraq and Southwestern Iran. The iconic Mesopotamian Marshlands in Iraq, often referred to as the ‘Garden of Eden’, also contain the giant Majnoon oil fields. Restoration attempts. In the last few decades the region has also been the scene of several wars. 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. curtr@duke.edu Comment in Science. 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. He is also a leading advocate for restoration of the marshes, and sits on the board of the Iraq Foundation, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization "working for democracy and human rights" in Iraq. The Iraqi Government’ s current goal is to restore the You've successfully subscribed to this newsletter! With the increase of . [Kyna Powers; Library of Congress. 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. living population it has been put under tremendous pres- Alwash has written a book about the restoration effort, “Eden Again: Hope in the Marshes of Iraq,” due out in July. “It’s like pouring water onto a cheap sponge,” Pournelle said. We worked with Shell to make sure that the oil field developments are taking place with minimal negative impacts on the marshes and the services they provide, and that future developments contribute to the restoration of the marshes by: This video provides an overview of the many challenges facing the marshes. As a result, according to the United Nations, more than 40 percent of southern Iraq's marshes have been regenerated. The Financial Times has good news from the region that has become a symbol of Saddam Hussein’s erstwhile tyranny:. Good water years and Iraqi restoration efforts in 2004–2008 resulted in successful rehydration of approximately 58% of the Marshes (UNEP 2005, Al‐Handel and Hu 2015). “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. Although USAID's Iraqi Marshlands Restoration Program was phased out at the end of 2006, it still supports marshland restoration as part of a three-year agribusiness program in Iraq. E-mail: [email protected] Still, there are some who hope to return to the life that famed British adventurer and writer Wilfred Thesiger described in his seminal work on the people and the region as “The Marsh Arabs.”. The biggest impact on the marshes of Iraq however has been from Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime. Efforts to rehabilitate the marshes have returned water to about 40% of the former marshland. Water availability is still constraining both marshland restoration and the oil industry. Uncontrolled releases of water partially restored some areas, whereas restoration failed in other areas because of high soil and water salinity (Richardson et al. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Azzam returned to Iraq to help restore the marshes. 7 Minute Read The other two parts of the marshes were designated as Ramsar sites in 2014. All images are copyrighted to their respectful owners and we make every effort to credit photographers. With the marshes virtually destroyed the wildlife populations collapsed. 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. 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. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshes, Iraq Title: Case study: Cultural and ecological restoration of the al-Ahwar wetlands, Iraq Author: Dr. Michelle L. Stevens, California State University at Sacramento, Environmental Studies Department, Amador Hall 555B, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819 The long-term recovery of the Iraq marshlands is in doubt because of uncertainties over water supplies to the wetlands, research suggests. Water is an essential natural resource for sustaining life . Iraq Marshlands Restoration Project. (NASA). If there is hope for restoring the Mesopotamian marshes of southern Iraq and Iran, it lies with two key elements: the indigenous Marsh Arabs and the availability of water. Good water years and Iraqi restoration efforts in 2004–2008 resulted in successful rehydration of ap-proximately 58% of the Marshes (UNEP 2005, Al-Handel and Hu … He added: “Probably within the next 20 years, certainly within the next 50, they will have disappeared forever.". “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. Shell Richardson CJ(1), Reiss P, Hussain NA, Alwash AJ, Pool DJ. Now, only about 1,150 square miles, or 10 percent, remain. Earlier assessments suggested that poor water quality, the presence of toxic materials, and high saline soil conditions in the drained marshes would prevent their ecological restoration and doom the reestablishment of the Marsh Arab culture of fishing and agriculture. Marshlands naturally act as nature’s water filter in that they separate toxins from the water, but without any water moving through the area the marshlands can’t do their jobs. 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 (Reuters). 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. Read previous editions of our newsletter. The marshes are home to more than 200 species of birds and at least 40 fish species. 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. Keywords: functional assessment, Iraq, Mesopotamia, restoration, wetlands Turkey alone has built at least 34 large dams on the Euphrates and Tigris and their tributaries. Scott Pelley Reports on the Restoration of Iraq's Marshlands. 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. ©2020 FOX News Network, LLC. When did you return to Iraq? So far, about 250,000 people have trickled back into the marshes over the last 10 years – mostly making their home around the roads that Hussein had built, where access to amenities is better. I landed on June 18 2003, 25 years after leaving. 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. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Now the boats have engines so it takes no time to get the grasses," Om Hussein, a Marsh Arab, told National Geographic. Draining of The Marshes. Last July, UNESCO designated Iraq's marshes as a world heritage site. The restoration of southern Iraq’s Mesopotamian marshes is now a giant ecosystem-level experiment. 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. 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. or redistributed. Author information: (1)Duke University Wetland Center, Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University, Box 90333, Durham, NC 27708, USA. Apr 18, 2020 - Explore Omar Al-Douri's board "Marshes of Iraq", followed by 141 people on Pinterest. This will require the allocation of 5.25 billion sq. An Iraqi Marsh Arab collects reeds at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad. The Netherlands, Tel. 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. 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. Prior attempts to restore Iraq’s marshes have focused on re-creating freshwater marshes, as they once were. The long-term recovery of the Iraq marshlands is in doubt because of uncertainties over water supplies to the wetlands, research suggests. “These are our marshes, they’re a key part of our heritage, and we’re doing everything we can to get the water to them to preserve them,” Hassan Janabi, Iraq’s minister of water resources told the Guardian. Congressional Research Service.] The Iraq marshes : restoration activities. Introduction . The word ‘majnoon’ in Arabic means ‘crazy’, referring to the excessive amounts of oil. Legal Statement. See more ideas about iraq, marsh, mesopotamia. ©2020 FOX News Network, LLC. 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. Keywords: WQI, Iraqi Marshes, Restoration, Nature Iraq. 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. “You can’t replace the ecosystem but you can use the wetlands to treat urban wastewater,” Pournelle said. Alwash has written a book about the restoration effort, “Eden Again: Hope in the Marshes of Iraq,” due out in July. All rights reserved. The Mesopotamian marshes of southern Iraq had been all but destroyed by Saddam Hussein's regime by the year 2000. This action displaced 200,000 to 250,000 Ma’dan (Marsh Arabs) and severely harmed an important ecosystem. "Memories of that first visit to the marshes have never left me,” wrote Thesiger, before describing scenes of life there. on Twitter 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. As a result, according to the United Nations, more than 40 percent of southern Iraq's marshes have been regenerated. In the 4th millennium BCE, the first literate societies emerged in Southern Mesopotamia, often referred to as the Cradle of Civilization, and the first cities and complex state bureaucracies were developed there during the Uruk period. The biggest impact on the marshes of Iraq however has been from Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime. meters of freshwater every year. Abstract. 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. 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. Introduction . This is also where the Majnoon Oil Field is located: one of the largest oil fields in the world. The wetlands were severely damaged by past drainage and warfare. Tel. When Allied forces entered Iraq in 2003, the marshes were only 7 percent of their original size, having been drained by Saddam Hussein in the wake of the first Gulf War. The Iraq Marshes: Restoration Activities Summary During the 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained approximately 90% of the Iraqi marshes. We safeguard and restore wetlands for people and nature. 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. The restoration potential of the Mesopotamian marshes of Iraq. 1. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper. 6700 AL Wageningen Conserving and restoring the iconic marshes of Southern Iraq. FAwzi Et Al. He is also a leading advocate for restoration of the marshes, and sits on the board of the Iraq Foundation, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization "working for democracy and human rights" in Iraq. The restoration of southern Iraq’s Mesopotamian marshes is now a giant ecosystem-level experiment. 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. After the exodus from the marshes following Hussein’s construction projects, many of the Marsh Arabs settled in squatters camps on the outskirts of Baghdad, Basra and Nasiriyah. 2005 Feb 25;307(5713):1186-9. RSIN Number: 806703726 Congressional Research Service.] IUCN West Asia After the fall of the regime and end of the wars around 40-60% of the marshes were reflooded again. 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. 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. “The water just turns into a toxic sludge.”, Satellite view of the wetlands in southern Iraq in February 2010 (Reuters). Identification of environmental issues and stakeholders. 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. 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.
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