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Leicester leads the way towards a sustainable lake in Africa
Date:11/4/2011

line and helping to restore its former glory is not something that can be achieved by a day's or even a week's visit followed by a quick newspaper article or blog. My Kenyan partners and I have given years of our time in order to properly understand what is going on and how quickly it changes - sometimes for the worse, increasingly often now for the better". "The newer members of our team - Caroline and Ed - bring a fresh perspective firstly in understanding its ecology, particularly the way people interact with it, value it and in some cases degrade it, and secondly, critically, in exploring how we can best work with local stakeholders to facilitate sustainable use and restoration in locally appropriate and valued ways".

The lake's ecology has been seriously damaged in the past four decades by the pressures put on it by a population that has increased 20-fold: Kenya has grown 10-fold since independence in 1963 - and Naivasha another 10-fold again by immigration from other parts of Kenya because of the job opportunities in horticulture which is now Kenya's biggest foreign exchange earner.

Quite incidentally to flower-growing, but infinitely more impacting, the lake has become home to several of the most damaging alien species on the planet - floating plants, American crayfish and Asian carp. It has become, in Harper's words, "the best outdoor laboratory for studying human impact on ecosystems that there is."

The Kenyan government has enacted legislation that means water is no longer free. Moreover local water resource users' associations - not a faceless 'man in the ministry' will soon be responsible for managing water resources at the sub-catchment level and for collecting water charges. Conservationists worldwide hope that, before long, water charges will fund the ecological restoration that the lake needs.

Recognising the many challenges that the Naivasha catchment faces, the Kenya Government has constituted a predominantl
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Contact: Dr. David M. Harper
dmh@le.ac.uk
44-116-252-3344
University of Leicester
Source:Eurekalert  

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