REGENERATING MANGROVES


Work on the Accelerated Natural Mangrove Regeneration Project in Anawilundawa continues to progress under the Guidance of Prof Sevvandi Jayakody, Head of the National Mangrove Expert Committee and member of the Mangrove Task Force Expert Committee. The projects is currently funded by Hema’s Manufacturing PLC, Lanka Environment Find (LEF) and Hayley’s Advantis.

 
A well planned hydrology network is a critical requirement to ensure that the right quantity of water from the main water body, the Dutch Canal, on the Western Perimeter of the site is fed to each plot. The amount of water is determined by the type of Mangrove species in a particular block. The Sri Lanka Navy’s Hydrology unit headed by Capt. Bandera and his team spent over a month at site surveying and mapping the contours of plots and the depths of the waterways. This detailed contour map, which will be used as the guide for the planning of the hydrology of the project was Presented to the Department of Wildlife Conservation and other main stake holders, the WNPS, Ministry of Forests and the University of Wayamba, by Sri Lanka Navy’s Chief Hydrographer and Chief of Staff of the Sri Lanka Navy Rear Admiral Y. N. Jayarathna. We are very grateful to the Sri Lanka Navy for coming forward to carry out this critical activity for the project.

Contour Map created by SL Navy 
The scientific work at the site is headed by Thilina Kumarasiri of the WNPS and ably assisted by Piyal Bhuddika Upananda, Assistant Ranger DWC and Ashan Jayathilaka of the University of Wayamba has shown excellent progress. A nursery for 5000 Rhizophora Mucronata plants were successfully maintained and behavioral changes of the plants observed and recorded. An experiment was conducted to establish a proper germination process for the species Aegiceras Corniculatum. This yielded successful results. In another key development, new additions to the mangrove map were made, the species Nipa Fruticans and Scyphiphora Hydroplyllacea which were not recorded earlier were added to the list of True Mangrove Species recorded at Anawilndawa.

Work has also begun on setting up of the site Research and Development laboratory after completion of the design by the WNPS, and Hayley’s Advantis teams. Hayley’s Advantis have provided the pre- fabricated structure to house the laboratory and the office on the site. The WNPS is looking for sponsors and generous donors for the lab and office furniture.


Demonstration session on Lab equipment

The Lanka Environmental Fund sponsored the purchase of critical equipment, 2 Multi Parameters, 2 soil thermometers which will be used to measure all critical soil and water quality parameters within the restoration area

MT LAVINIA ROCKY SHORE – STUDY


The study to document the recolonization of the rocky shore by biota following the burial of the rocks by sand during the Beach Nourishment Project of the Coast Conservation Department in 2020 continues under the able guidance of Dr. Malik Fernando. A team of Undergraduate students mentored by Medisha Gunawardena, (Senior lecturer at Horizon Campus) also participated in the very interesting work. The goals of this study is as follows.


  • Document algae colonisation with respect to species and abundance with time and monsoon activity.
  • Document mollusc re-colonisation with respect to species & abundance with time & monsoon activity.
  • Document re-colonisation by other biota (e. g. crabs, chitons, sea anemones, barnacles etc.) with respect to species & abundance with time & monsoon activity.
 
It is unfortunate that the current events have prevented the team from visiting the site as often as was planned.

Dr. Jagath Gunawardena commenced a study on the behavioral patterns of Migratory Birds in the rocky shore which also drew much interest from the students.

RESPONDING TO THE X-PRESS PEARL DISASTER


Contributing to the task of assessing the damage to the marine ecosystem by the X-Press Pearl disaster, the WNPS Marine Committee successfully concluded a Citizen Science project to assess nurdle distribution washed ashore post the incident. A study was conducted by Thilini Dilrukshi of the University of Wayamba in collaboration with the WNPS, under the guidance of Prof. Sevvandi Jayakody to assess the impact of marine debris and plastic pollution post the disaster. We are happy to note that an abstract of the paper has been accepted at the 7lMDC (7th International Marine Debris Conference), a conference organized by an Executive Committee comprised of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea (MOF) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),โ€‹ with the organizational support of โ€‹ the Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KOEM), and the technical support ofโ€‹ U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).