On June 5th, LWF and the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) marked the World Environment Day in a tree planting exercise at Rugariga Springs.
The spring that gushes from the slopes of Mt Kenya, in Teleswani sub-catchment, was picked by the local community to undergo rehabilitation. In recent years, the splendour of Rugariga has been threatened by deforestation.
MKEWP, together with Mount Kenya Trust, joined efforts to protect the sub-catchment. Through the Water Resources User Groups (WRUAs) and Community Forest Associations (CFAs), the Partnership mobilized over 400 community members and 100 school children who braved the morning downpour to participate in the exercise.
The exercise brought together members from Sirimon CFA, Teleswani community water projects, Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Teleswani, Ngusishi and Timau WRUAs and pupils from Kirimira and Kiambogo primary schools.
In the end, 3500 trees donated by Mount Kenya Trust (MKT) were planted to protect the spring that supplies River Teleswani. 2500 of the trees planted were indigenous while 1000 were giant bamboo seedlings, which are planted to create a favourable habitat for spring and river protection.
Senior forester, Mr Simiyu, from Kenya Forest Service, noted that the tree planting was in line with government’s ambitious plan aimed at increasing the country’s forest cover from the current 7% to 10% by the year 2022.
Mr Simiyu, however, challenged the CFAs to nurture the trees. “Planting the trees here today is a mere 2% of our efforts, but taking care of them is a crucial 98%.” Addressing the incessant encroachment of the catchment, the authority requested the community to be vigilant in safeguarding the resource
As a measure to protect the young trees, Ontulili CFA Chairman, Mr Magiri, announced that grazing of cattle will longer be allowed in the catchment.
Protection of catchments in the area is crucial to the Partnership’s agenda, a reality that Water Resources Specialist, James Mwangi, says, “can be achieved through collective action and responsibility.”