Thursday, January 28, 2010

Destruction of Sg. Sedili Kechil

I have written about this to the Menteri Besar of Johor (and also redirected to the relevant agencies and departments) and there were also a few short articles about the destruction of about 10 km or more of Sg Sedili Kechil downstream of the confluence of Sg. Lukah with Sg. Sedili Kechil.

It is a project of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage (DID), supposedly to mitigate the flooding of oil palm trees in FELDA Lok Heng area, which is located on the upper reaches of Sg. Sedili Kechil. The settlers have complained to their ADUN to do something about the floods.

Seems like the oil palm trees were planted in the riparian areas of the river, no wonder they got flooded. And the basic assumption by DID is to chop down the riparian trees like the Pandanus, rengas air and putat as well as the kepau palm as the vegetation was supposed to block the flow of the river. The problem is that DID did not do any studies and modeling to ensure that the removal of the vegetation would be successful in mitigating the floods. Wetlands usually are helpful in mitigating floods, not causing them.

We (Vincent Chow, Andy Foo and I) visited the river on Sunday, 13 Sept. 2009 i.e. during the Ramadhan fasting month. It was a hot day and the small outboard has no roof therefore it was quiet a challenge for me going through the journey with parched throat.

We met many amateur fishermen (Malays and Chinese) on the way upstream. Possibly around ten boats. They were fishing for the udang galah or the giant river lobsters (Macrobrachium rosenbergii). A few of the fishermen tethered both ends of their boats to the nipah palms or trees on both sides of the river, so there was no need to anchor the boats.

The downstream part of Sg. Sedili Kechil was mostly nipah (Nypa fruticans) and mangroves. Only when the river became less saline that we see other species such as the rengas air, putat (Barringtonia spp.) and later Pandanus spp. (rasau).

Most of the plants being removed (see photos) were Pandanus but there were other species too, even some of the kepau palms were not spared.

Gunung Ledang, 21 February 2010

Gunung Ledang, 21 February 2010
On the Peak of Gunung Ledang after the MNSJ Strategic Planning

Malaysian Nature Society, Johor Branch


I am the present Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society, Johor Branch (MNSJ) (2010-11) and was duly elected as the President of the Malaysian Nature Society at the 63rd AGM at Taman Rimba Lagenda Ledang, Tangkak on 25th Sept. 2010. It is MNSJ's standing policy to engage directly with the relevant Federal and State agencies/departments on issues related to Nature and the Environment. This non-hostile approach is more effective than the hostile "in your face" attitude but we would have our say if necessary.


About Me

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Skudai, Johor Bahru, Johor, Malaysia
I am an academician in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia situated in the southern state of Johor, Peninsular Malaysia. My fields of expertise are watershed management, water quality and water quality modeling. I did my B. Sc. and M. Sc. at the University of Iowa (1978 - 83) and worked for the Department of Environment (DOE) until 1990, when I joined UTM and later did my PhD in Watershed Science at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. I was the Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) Johor from 2006 - 2011. I was the President of the MNS from 2010 to 2014.