Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Celebrates 15 Years of Wetland Conservation - New Proposals Under Draft Sungei Buloh Master Plan Unveiled

06 Dec 2008
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Singapore, 6 December 2008 - Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve celebrated its 15th anniversary today, with new proposals under the Draft Sungei Buloh Master Plan to transform it into a distinctive centre for wetland conservation and education.

Senior Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong, who officially opened the wetland reserve 15 years ago, was the Guest of Honour and delivered a speech at the reserve's 15th anniversary celebration today. Mr Mah Bow Tan, Minister for National Development was also at the event to celebrate the occasion with volunteers, corporate sponsors and other partners of the wetland reserve.

As a site along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway for migratory shorebirds and an ASEAN Heritage Park, Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve is a unique asset for conservation, education and recreation in a land-scarce city state like Singapore. The National Parks Board (NParks), together with key stakeholders and partners, has conceptualised the Draft Sungei Buloh Master Plan to strengthen the conservation of its biodiversity, while allowing more visitors to experience the wonders of a wetland habitat.

The Draft Master Plan is designed for sustainability - the core of the nature reserve will be managed for its conservation values while the fringes will be enhanced for recreational use. A working group, comprising representatives from Nature Society Singapore, the Singapore Environment Council, National University of Singapore, National Institute of Education, PUB, Ministry of Education and Sungei Buloh volunteers, has been set up to work on the detailed plan for Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, from concept to design, and to its implementation.

Elaborating on the community's involvement in the growth of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve for the past 15 years, Mr Ng Lang, Chief Executive Officer, NParks, said: "It is the strong community ownership that has made Sungei Buloh what it is today. From its humble beginnings as an area of abandoned prawn ponds, it is now a thriving wetland, home to a rich variety of biodiversity and over 220 species of birds. Sungei Buloh was born out of collaboration with the community. We will continue to engage the community in the development of the Master Plan." Key Thrusts of Draft Sungei Buloh Master Plan

One of the key thrusts of the Draft Sungei Buloh Master Plan is to link up pockets of nature around Sungei Buloh, such as Lim Chu Kang mangroves, Kranji Reservoir Park and Kranji Marshes. Habitats for the various species of native wildlife along this belt will be enhanced, in collaboration with other government agencies. By forming a corridor of complementary habitats and biodiversity, this provides the opportunity to plan for mangrove and wildlife conservation more strategically.

At the same time, areas such as the Kranji Nature Trail have been identified where recreational activities can be carried out with new and improved facilities, without impacting on the core conservation areas in Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

Currently, visitors to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve are able to access most parts of the wetland. To balance visitorship and human impact on the rich biodiversity of the reserve, the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve will be zoned into four activity areas, with programmes to cater to different groups of visitors, from beginners all the way to the expert level. This facilitates experiential and lifelong learning and to encourage repeat visits to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve.

The four activity zones are:

Zone 1 (High Activity Zone) - This area at Kranji Nature Trail and the Visitor Centre provides visitors with an interactive first-hand encounter with mangrove and coastal habitats. It is meant to target visitors in groups. Proposed new facilities for this zone include a wetland-themed play area for children, a floating boardwalk to provide a closer experience with mangroves, shelters and platforms with exhibits to promote a deeper appreciation for nature.

Zone 2 (Medium Activity Zone) - Located at the coastal front of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, visitors to this zone will have a more exploratory and sensory experience. New proposed facilities include revamped outdoor classrooms and hides for a more indepth study about mangroves and the various species of flora and fauna.

Zone 3 (Low Activity Zone) - This is a low intensity zone, with minimal interventions to conserve its natural environment and serenity. Future access to this area could require the accompaniment of certified nature guides.

Zone 4 (Very Low Activity Zone) - It is a restricted zone, retaining the core of the wetland reserve for conservation and research purposes.

Proposed New Facilities for the Local and International Community

The working group will also look into the following new facilities to make the wetland experience a more memorable one for both the local and international community:

In line with the Draft Master Plan's objectives to support educational outreach, the exhibition area at the Visitor Centre will showcase broader nature conservation and environmental messages. It will also incorporate a new lookout tower to provide bird-watchers a panoramic view of the surroundings and to better observe birds in flight.

Facilities for meetings are in the pipeline to cater to local and regional workshops on biodiversity conservation, as well as corporate events and retreats.

The educational value of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve to the international community will be enhanced, with new facilities for nature experts and researchers such as workrooms and guest accommodation, to facilitate scientific studies to be carried out in the reserve.

The working group will be finalising the concept plan for Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Construction works are expected to start in late 2010 and complete by early 2013.

Sungei Buloh's 15th Anniversary Celebrations - 6 and 7 December 2008

As part of the 15th anniversary celebrations, NParks has organised a series of fun and educational activities with our corporate partners - HSBC, Nature Society Singapore, Toshiba Group, Underworld Singapore, Yahoo and Sungei Buloh volunteers.

An Amazing Mangrove Adventure was specially organised together with HSBC, a long-standing partner of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Designed for family participation, participants will be going around the wetland reserve in teams of four, to complete assigned tasks, learning about the vibrant biodiversity found in mangroves in the process. On hand at the wetland reserve to provide guidance to these participants were a group of specially trained Green Volunteers from HSBC and Sungei Buloh volunteers.

Commenting on the significance of the 15th anniversary celebrations, Mr Guy Harvey-Samuel, CEO of HSBC Singapore said: "HSBC's support and involvement in the conservation of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve goes back to Sungei Buloh's earliest days. Today's event marks a memorable milestone in our efforts to promote environmental conservation and education in Singapore and our long-standing partnership with NParks to achieve this goal. We are delighted to have played our part in the conservation of the reserve over the last 15 years and we look forward to continuing our contribution towards conserving Sungei Buloh as a living classroom for the community."

As part of the celebration, Toshiba Group will be contributing trees to be planted for 10 lucky visitors over 6 and 7 December 2008. During that weekend, there will be nature and photography talks, face-painting activities for children, art and photography exhibitions on the wetland reserve.
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Information is Updated on 19/05/2013