When Allied forces entered Iraq in 2003, the marshes were only 7 percent of their original size, having been drained by Saddam Hussein in the wake of the first Gulf War. (NASA). The restoration of southern Iraq’s Mesopotamian marshes is now a giant ecosystem-level experiment. Now the boats have engines so it takes no time to get the grasses," Om Hussein, a Marsh Arab, told National Geographic. The Iraqi Government’ s current goal is to restore the The billion dollar retaliation project was disastrous – turning the almost 20,000-square-miles of marsh into a virtual desert and displacing the half million people who called the region home. Now large sections of the marshes have been restored, and in places the reed beds once again stretch as far as the eye can see. We safeguard and restore wetlands for people and nature. 1. The environmental and military campaign desiccated the marshlands, destroyed the environment, burnt villages, and drove hundreds of thousands of the indigenous ma'dan population into external exile or internal displacement. Keywords: functional assessment,Iraq,Mesopotamia,restoration,wetlands +31 (0) 318 660 910, E-mail: [email protected], P.O. The draining of the Mesopotamian Marshes occurred in Iraq and to a smaller degree in Iran between the 1950s and 1990s to clear large areas of the marshes in the Tigris-Euphrates river system.Formerly covering an area of around 20,000 km 2 (7,700 sq mi), the main sub-marshes, the Hawizeh, Central, and Hammar marshes and all three were drained at different times for different reasons. The Financial Times has good news from the region that has become a symbol of Saddam Hussein’s erstwhile tyranny:. The effects of climate change are further damaging the prospect for the marshes’ restoration. The first study to look at the marshes' recovery warned that increased water demand from farmers and cities could lead to only a portion being restored. Draining of The Marshes. Iraq Marshes Can Be Partially Restored. Congressional Research Service.] Alwash has written a book about the restoration effort, “Eden Again: Hope in the Marshes of Iraq,” due out in July. Keywords: functional assessment, Iraq, Mesopotamia, restoration, wetlands Demonstration that re-flooding of currently dried out land can revitalise biodiversity and benefit local communities, and therefore needs to be seriously taken into consideration in future planning of marsh restoration and hazard reduction. Large dams and inefficient agricultural schemes in Iraq and neighbouring countries are increasingly reducing the quantity and quality of water that reaches the marshes even further. From the 1950s to the 1990s, the marshes lost a colossal 90% of its total area. The lush marshes of Iraq are regarded by some as the original Garden of Eden, but they were drained and decimated by Saddam Hussein. When Allied forces entered Iraq in 2003, the marshes were only 7 percent of their original size, and the area’s population had dwindled from 500,000 to 125,000. “These are our marshes, they’re a key part of our heritage, and we’re doing everything we can to get the water to them to preserve them,” Hassan Janabi, Iraq’s minister of water resources told the Guardian. Iraq Marshlands National Park is a prototype of successful ecological and cultural restoration, demonstrating that when enough water remains to sustain the Marshes, cultural knowledge has been retained and passed on to future generations. Richardson CJ(1), Reiss P, Hussain NA, Alwash AJ, Pool DJ. “You can’t replace the ecosystem but you can use the wetlands to treat urban wastewater,” Pournelle said. The Mesopotamian Marshes, also known as the Iraqi Marshes, are a wetland area located in Southern Iraq and Southwestern Iran. Keywords: WQI, Iraqi Marshes, Restoration, Nature Iraq. Watch the film below, and learn more about Nature Iraq’s ongoing work in the marshes. After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Azzam returned to Iraq to help restore the marshes. The Iraq marshes : restoration activities. An Iraqi Marsh Arab woman paddles her boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad. He is also a leading advocate for restoration of the marshes, and sits on the board of the Iraq Foundation, a nonprofit nongovernmental organization "working for democracy and human rights" in Iraq. Due to the geographical location and ecological factors of the Fertile Crescent, a crescent-shape fertile area running from the basins of the Nile in Egypt, northwards along the Mediterranean coast in Palestine and Israel, and southwards again along the Euphrates and the Tigristow… The Iraq Marshes: Restoration Activities Summary During the 1990s, Saddam Hussein drained approximately 90% of the Iraqi marshes. But things changed rapidly in 1992, when former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein – angered by claims that the Marsh Arabs were harboring defeated Shia rebels – decided to punish them by sending engineers to divert the Tigris and Euphrates rivers away from the marshes. Read previous editions of our newsletter. too far from restoration. The Iraq Marshes: Restoration Activities Showing 1-4 of 11 pages in this report . Through all of this, a small part of the marsh on the border with Iran has remained as a green oasis and is the only Ramsar wetland of international importance in Iraq: the Hawizeh Marsh. “The reflooding of the marshes is a great example of Iraq rising from the ashes of destruction,” says Azzam Alwash, the founder and CEO of Nature Iraq, a local NGO that has helped to spearhead the restoration of Iraq’s marshes. Designed to emulate the features of natural wetlands, a constructed wetland acts as a biofilter to remove sediments and pollutants from the wastewater before channeling the cleaner water into parts of the wetlands that scientists hope to revive. Author information: (1)Duke University Wetland Center, Nicholas School of Environment and Earth Sciences, Duke University, Box 90333, Durham, NC 27708, USA. Water is an essential natural resource for sustaining life . Introduction . Acknowledging the difficulties that lie ahead, Pournelle said that it’s ultimately up to Iraqis to take matters into their own hands if they want to right Saddam Hussein’s wrong. The marshes are home to more than 200 species of birds and at least 40 fish species. So far, about 250,000 people have trickled back into the marshes over the last 10 years – mostly making their home around the roads that Hussein had built, where access to amenities is better. As a result, according to the United Nations, more than 40 percent of southern Iraq's marshes have been regenerated. 1. Now with Hussein dead and a tenuous Iraqi government attempting to bring some semblance of peace to the turbulent nation, officials in Baghdad – along with scientists from the United States – are working to revive what was once the Middle East’s largest wetlands and help the Marsh Arabs return to their ancestral homeland. Restoration of the Mesopotamian Marshes, Iraq Title: Case study: Cultural and ecological restoration of the al-Ahwar wetlands, Iraq Author: Dr. Michelle L. Stevens, California State University at Sacramento, Environmental Studies Department, Amador Hall 555B, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA 95819 Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. 2008, and Iraq presently has one site, The Hawizeh Marshes, designated as a Wetland of International Importance. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, Efforts to rehabilitate the marshes have returned water to about 40% of the former marshland. Through all of this, only a small part of the marshes on the border with Iran, the Hawizeh Marshes, has remained and is the first Ramsar Wetland of International Importance in Iraq. Hassan Janabi, Iraq’s minister of water resources told the Guardian, Om Hussein, a Marsh Arab, told National Geographic. Market data provided by Factset. “It’s like pouring water onto a cheap sponge,” Pournelle said. Iraq Marshlands Restoration Project. Eden Again works for the restoration of the southern marshes which were the target of a campaign by the Iraqi government in the early to mid nineties. of water for restoration is in question, which suggests that only a portion of the former marshes may be restored.Also, landscape c onnectivity between marshes is greatly reduced, causing concern about local species extinctions and lower diversity in isolated wetlands. While these dams have no doubt helped farmers in drier northern Iraq, they have also prevented the flood pulse from the Taurus and Zagros mountains from flushing out the marshland – leaving only stagnant water in the remaining parts of the region. Last July, UNESCO designated Iraq's marshes as a world heritage site. Identification of further opportunities for marshland restoration, involving the SIPD staff, local communities and authorities. But moving the former residents back will not be easy. The iconic Mesopotamian Marshlands in Iraq, often referred to as the ‘Garden of Eden’, also contain the giant Majnoon oil fields. (Reuters). Restoring reeds. This will require the allocation of 5.25 billion sq. Freshwater marshes and other wetlands once covered about 11,500 square miles of Iraq’s south, and 15,400 square miles across all of Iraq. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Thanks to this restoration, the marshes currently cover approximately 40% of their initial surface, and the Iraqi Government aims to make this 75% by 2035. Shell Prior attempts to restore Iraq’s marshes have focused on re-creating freshwater marshes, as they once were. In the last few decades the region has also been the scene of several wars. The restoration of southern Iraq’s Mesopotamian marshes is now a giant ecosystem-level experiment. For more than 6,000 years, the marshlands of southern Iraq played a major role in sustaining the agriculture, economies and livelihoods of those residing in the Fertile Crescent. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. (Reuters). on Twitter 2005 Feb 25;307(5713):1186-9. Water availability is still constraining both marshland restoration and the oil industry. Alwash has written a book about the restoration effort, “Eden Again: Hope in the Marshes of Iraq,” due out in July. An Iraqi Marsh Arab woman paddles her boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, … Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper. We are working with Shell to minimise the negative impacts of oil and gas development on the biodiversity of the marshes and the ecosystem services they provide and to help restore them. “The end game,” she said, “is where Iraqis get the idea that a destroyed wetlands needs to be fixed by preserving the existing wetlands.”, Get all the stories you need-to-know from the most powerful name in news delivered first thing every morning to your inbox. Ramsar Convention You've successfully subscribed to this newsletter! Marsh Arab Abu Sabah paddles his boat at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad. +31 (0) 318 660 910 To that end he established Nature Iraq, an organisation dedicated to the protection and restoration of Iraq’s natural heritage. Pournelle, along with her colleagues at USC and the University of Basra in Iraq, believe that the best way to help restore the region is through constructed wetlands. “But when you drain a marsh, you can’t just put water back in because you just get muck.”. With the marshes virtually destroyed the wildlife populations collapsed. ©2020 FOX News Network, LLC. Reg No: 09099028. 2005 , Richardson and Hussain 2006 ). In this presentation, I will include interviews with people involved in restoration and monitoring of the marshes from before the Iraq war to present: this provides a human perspective on the condition of the al Ahwar marshes, and will give voice and credibility to cultural memories and sense of place. Uncontrolled release of water in many areas is resulting in the return of native plants and animals, including rare and endangered species of birds, mammals, and plants. Extensive areas are still littered with one of the highest densities in the world of mines and unexploded ordinance. Identification of environmental issues and stakeholders. The restoration potential of the Mesopotamian marshes of Iraq. Since the marshland was destroyed in the early 1990s, numerous dams have been built on both the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to irrigate land not just in Iraq but in neighboring Turkey and Syria. The biggest impact on the marshes of Iraq however has been from Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist regime. When did you return to Iraq? In a sense, it is a symbol of the restoration of Iraq as a whole.” The 1,000-square-kilometer (385-square-mile) national park in Iraq’s Central Marshes will tangibly protect and promote the marshes and oblige policymakers to consider the needs of Iraq’s marshes, as well as their human and animal inhabitants. Legal Statement. After the exodus from the marshes following Hussein’s construction projects, many of the Marsh Arabs settled in squatters camps on the outskirts of Baghdad, Basra and Nasiriyah. This action displaced 200,000 to 250,000 Ma’dan (Marsh Arabs) and severely harmed an important ecosystem. The wetlands were severely damaged by past drainage and warfare. If you own rights to any of the images and they are not credited, or you do not wish them to appear on our site, please contact us at [email protected]. FAwzi Et Al. ofwater for restoration is in question,which suggests that only a portion ofthe former marshes may be restored.Also,landscape c onnectivity between marshes is greatly reduced,causing concern about local species extinctions and lower diversity in isolated wetlands. See more ideas about iraq, marsh, mesopotamia. Researchers say that it is probably not feasible to bring the Iraqi wetlands back to their original size – given the damming upstream and the years the ecosystem has spent without water. I landed on June 18 2003, 25 years after leaving. A large part of the marshlands, together with three ancient cities, has now been inscribed  on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. [Kyna Powers; Library of Congress. 3 Bilder Photo Gallery: Hope for Iraq's Marshes 1 / 3 Saddam Hussein drained the unique wetlands of southern Iraq as a punishment to the region's Marsh Arabs who had backed an uprising. meters of freshwater every year. When Allied forces entered Iraq in 2003, the marshes were only 7 percent of their original size, and the area’s population had dwindled from 500,000 to 125,000. Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources last summer dredged up tons of mud to create 43 islands, with one island dedicated completely to infrastructure projects such as a classroom and a filtration system to make the salty marsh water potable. Last July, UNESCO designated Iraq's marshes as a world heritage site. IUCN West Asia Wetlands International and Clingendael Institute were co-conveners, and representatives from the Centre for the Restoration of the Iraq Marshes and Wetlands (CRIMW), the Ministry of Water Resources of Iraq, the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Deltares, the Universities of Utrecht and Radboud, and Nature Iraq were also present. Apr 18, 2020 - Explore Omar Al-Douri's board "Marshes of Iraq", followed by 141 people on Pinterest. Nature Iraq The word ‘majnoon’ in Arabic means ‘crazy’, referring to the excessive amounts of oil. An Iraqi Marsh Arab collects reeds at the Chebayesh marsh in Nassiriya, 300 km (185 miles) southeast of Baghdad. 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