Friday, 26 December 2014

December 2014 RUMbles

What is the state of the abandoned aquaculture ponds in southern Pulau Ubin? What plants and animals are found there? How are these areas currently used by people?
R.U.M Initiative members and friends made some surveys in December to find out.

On 21 Dec (Sun), R.U.M Initiative members and friends went on our first RUMble. Thanks to van driver Mr Yeo who lived on Chek Jawa and knows Ubin very well, we got to all the easy access routes of the various ponds.
Dan Friess hops into the mud to see what the situation is like in one of the ponds.
There is already some natural regeneration at some of the abandoned ponds.
We notice young saplings (probably Avicennia) settling on a high mud bank at Sungei Puaka
An example of mangrove tree replanting by NParks, on the high ground above the mudflats near Sungei Ubin. During the first trip, we stopped briefly at many ponds.
Another team headed out on 24 Dec (Wed), mainly to survey for birds. But also check out the situation on the ground. Thanks to Mr Yeo the van driver, we followed a well beaten path to the large southeast abandoned ponds nearest Chek Jawa.
A view of Chek Jawa and Pulau Sekudu from the shoreline at the abandoned ponds. This structure appears to be a boat ramp.
There are many concrete structures sprinkled on the shore. Many look like V-shaped structures used to make drains.
These sluice gate structures are falling down.
These sluice gate structures still upright but falling apart too.
A large concrete slab near the shoreline.
Many herons seen on the mudflats nearer Chek Jawa (Pulau Sekudu is on the horizon) including a Great billed heron
There seems to be a sand bar between the shoreline and the floating fish farm opposite the abandoned ponds.
Extensive mudflats inside the abandoned pond. But almost no regeneration of trees in the middle of the pond. Although there is regeneration on the sides.
The edges of the abandoned pond have been colonised by mangrove trees, some have grown tall.
Lots of little saplings settling near the high-water mark.
A closer look at the saplings.
The area seems frequented by fishermen. There is a great deal of litter.
And a heartbreaking amount of abandoned nets entangling the large mangrove trees growing at the seaward side.
On both days, we forgot to take a group photo until everyone had finished eating dinner! Some of the R.U.M Initiative members and friends on our first RUMble: Chia Lee Wee and Margaret, Dan Friess, Zeehan Jaafar, Kok Kwan Siong, Sumita Thiagarajan, Deirdre and Philip Lim.
Thanks also to Toh Chay Hoon, Sumita Thiagarajan, David Tan, Solomon Anthony, Juria Toramae, Heng Pei Yan and Andy Dinesh.
A lot of work ahead to restore the mangroves in the abandoned aquaculture ponds! But we are ready to make the effort!

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