MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region MedWetCoast Project for conservation of Wetlands and Coastal Ecosystems in the Mediterranean Region
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Project activities report
Progress report of the Lebanon project until 2003
Sunday 20 July 2003, by Web Team

1- Progress at the site levels :

The main achievements at the site level are the following:

- Site diagnosis. A team of researchers from the Lebanese University will be contracted to undertake the site diagnosis survey of both the Aamiq Wetlands and Tyre Coast Nature Reserve. Contract to be signed and finalized in the coming week.
- Drafting of the management plans. The management plans are in the process of drafting. Each site coordinator in close cooperation with the project manager is developing the principle objectives of the site. Each principle objective is being developed into projects. The development of the principle objectives is based on the available literature and the site surveys. These objectives will be further refined as soon as the site diagnosis is finalized. Please refer to the progress reports developed by the site coordinators for the list of principal objectives. These management plans are in the process of circulation among the stakeholders.
- Training on Management Planning. A two days training workshop on Management Planning according to the Ramsar/MedWetCoast criteria was held in Tyre on the 14 and 15th of April. The attendees were members of the management teams from all the reserves, members of the GACs, representatives of different ministries (power and water, defense, and finance), local NGOs, AFD, and UNDP.
- Training on Turtle Monitoring. A training workshop was held at the MoE on Turtle importance and monitoring in Tyre Coast Nature Reserve. The workshop attendees were staff of the MoE, representatives of NGOs, faculty members from AUB and volunteers interested in assisting the Tyre Coast management team in turtle monitoring.
- Research. Contacts have been established with the Universite Saint Joseph water research department and AUB engineering department to undertake research on water issues in Aamiq and Tyre Coast Nature Reserve. Research on eco-landscaping is underway in collaboration with Dr. Jala Makhzoumi of AUB.
- Partnerships. Partnerships are being developed with different NGOs and organizations in order to assist the reserve management in specific tasks. TERRE LIBAN is assisting TCNR in awareness, SPNL and AMWAJ are working on a social development project in TCNR, AUB Healthy Basket is assisting TCNR in the development and execution of an organic farming program for Ras El Ain, World Vision in assisting the Aamiq management in social development and organic farming. A partnership has been developed with World Bank/ CDR project entitled Cultural Heritage and Urban Development in Tyre.
- Signage. The design of signage for the two sites is underway.
- Management Plan Implementation. Urgent actions are being undertaken at the site level. These are:

In Tyre Coast Nature Reserve.

- Conservation. Fencing of the conservation zone in order to reduce damage to the site by humans, dogs and cattle. The conservation zone in Zone E1 has been partly fenced is the project is in progress to finalize the remaining areas
- Conservation. Shooting of stray dogs. Stray dogs were shot. These dogs disturb the nests of sea turtles and birds.
- Conservation. Prevention of grazing. Grazing has been prevented in the conservation zone. However, further to the site diagnosis there might be need for controlled grazing in order to control invasive species.
- Conservation. The kiosks that are used as restaurants in the touristy zone have been pushed back away from the seawater front. They were at a distance of 40 meters from the sea water line, now they are at a distance of 90 m. The number of kiosks has been reduced from 86 to 60.
- Conservation. A fresh water pond, in the touristic zone has been conserved. 44 different bird species have been identified in that pond. It was agreed with the Government Appointed Committee (GAC) and the Tyre Municipality to conserve the pond, landscape it and use it as an educational pond for children and visitors
- Awareness. An awareness campaign for school children has been undertaken. The number of children was approximately 1200. Ages were between 8 and 12. The campaign was very successful based on the feedback of the schools. This campaign was undertaken by the MedWetCoast in collaboration with the GAC and TERRE LIBAN an NGO specialized in children environmental awareness through songs.
- Monitoring. Turtle monitoring. A turtle monitoring program is underway. A turtle monitoring training workshop has been undertaken by the project on Monday June 30th.
- Organic Farming for Conservation and Social Development. Training Organic farming in TCNR serves two purposes: One is the protection of water resources through the reduced use of agro-chemicals and two social development through added value agriculture. A program for introducing organic farming has been developed by MedWetCoast with the involvement of several partners: The TCNR GAC, UNDP Methyl Bromide alternatives project, SPNL and AMWAJ local NGOs, and AUB through Healthy Basket.
- Stakeholder involvement. Fishermen. A preliminary meeting has been held with the syndicate of fishermen in Tyre in order to inform them about the reserve and the need for sustainable fishing.
- Rehabilitation. Ras El Ain. Efforts are being deployed to remove the illegal residents from the houses next to the pools in order to rehabilitate the pools and the water mills adjacent to the reservoirs.
- Partnership. Development of partnerships. As stated previously several partnerships between the GAC and NGOs or institutions were initiated by the project.
- Ecotourism. Negotiations are underway with a private company in order to develop bike rides in Tyre.
- Public visits. Visitor groups made up of scouts, university students and clubs have visited the site on guided tours

In Aamiq

- Conservation. Plans and budgets for a fence controlling public access are ready for execution.
- Conservation. The Hajj-Chahine family are enforcing the restriction of hunters and visitor access on their part of the estate.
- Conservation. A very noticeable reduction in hunting has been noticed further to the enforcement of the no access code implemented by the Skaffs and recently by the Hajj-Chahines.
- Public access and awareness. Plans and budgets to rehabilitate an old pump house to be used as a visitor center are ready for execution.
- Social development. A plan for social development in Aamiq village involving the promotion of the sale of local produce has been initiated in cooperation with the Aamiq Municipality, World Vision and MedWetCoast.
- Organic Farming. Negotiations with the land owners (Skaff,, and Hajj-Chahine) are underway to introduce organic farming as a farming technique on the estates. A program starting from technical assistance up to marketing of the produce is being developed by the MedWetCoast project in collaboration with the owners and World Vision.
- Ecotourism. Negotiations are underway with a private ecotour operator to develop and operate ecotourism activities at the site.
- Public visits. Visitor groups made up of scouts and clubs have visited the site on guided tours

2- Progress at the project level

- Legal. The framework law for nature reserves has been reviewed by the Hajj-Chahine family and the review has been presented to the Ministry. The framework law for nature reserves is going to be presented to the Council of Ministers in the coming weeks.
The Skaff family is in the process of finalizing a memorandum of agreement to be signed between the MoE and the Skaff family.


-  Charbel Rik, Project Manager







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