SPNL’s Fish and Wildlife Unit is on track to help conserve the Qaraoun Lake and Litani river basin
The Fish and Wildlife Unit (FWU), launched by SPNL earlier this year to support fish and wildlife conservation across different habitats in Lebanon, is currently converging all efforts towards protecting the Qaraoun lake and the Litani river basin, with the support of MAVA foundation.
Threatened by various sources of chemical and biological pollution, these wetlands need an effective and long term conservation plan. As part of this, SPNL is concentrating its efforts currently to implement various components in a realistic and efficient manner, including: biodiversity research and monitoring, education, capacity building and policy enforcement.
Activities under those components have been already kicked off, under a project funded by MAVA Foundation. Monthly monitoring field visits are being conducted to assess the avifaunal and floral diversity at the Qaraoun Lake. While the point count method is being used to monitor birds, plants’ diversity around the lake, especially in floodplains, is getting assessed by the transects technique. Different avifaunal and floral species have been already recorded including endemic plants such as the Rushy sulphurwort (Peucedanum junceum) and the Bear’s breeches (Acanthus syriacus). Besides, many species of waterbirds have been observed such as White Pelican, White Stork, Grey Heron, recorded along a list to be updated along the way.
In parallel, meetings with the surrounding municipalities and Litani River Authority (LRA) are being conducted to plan future educational sessions and focused workshops targeting the main threats on these wetlands and their biodiversity. As a result of this continuous communication, an event was held in the Qaraoun lake to celebrate the World Migratory Bird Day – WMBD on the 9th of October 2021. The event included various activities to raise awareness on birds and their phenomenal migration for different target groups such as hunters, families and nature lovers.
Additionally, some initiatives are being implemented to help reduce waste discharge into the basin. These initiatives will be assessed to come up with future efficient long-term interventions to improve pollution management at the basin, threatening the aquatic species, waterbirds as well as local communities in the surrounding villages.