NParks announces new conservation, research, outreach and educational plans for Sisters’ Islands Marine Park
21 May 2016
Launch of new community outreach initiative:
Plant-A-Coral, Seed-A-Reef programme by the Garden City Fund
21 May 2016 - Following the completion of a one-year feasibility study, the National Parks Board (NParks) announced new conservation, research, outreach and educational plans for the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, and launched Plant-A-Coral, Seed-A-Reef programme, a new community outreach initiative by the Garden City Fund. This will provide the public more opportunities to learn about Singapore’s rich marine biodiversity and contribute to marine conservation efforts.
Conservation, research, outreach and educational plans for the Marine Park
The feasibility study had been initiated in 2015 to explore sustainable ways to conserve the habitats in Sisters’ Islands Marine Park while providing a range of outreach and educational activities for the public. After the conclusion of environmental impact assessments, the new plans will be carried out sensitively from end 2016, and progressively completed in phases from 2017 to 2019.
The Sisters’ Islands Marine Park spans about 40 hectares around the Big Sister’s Island and Small Sister’ Island, and along the western reefs of St John’s Island and Pulau Tekukor.
Big Sister’s Island will serve as a platform for conservation, outreach and education. A boardwalk, intertidal pools and a floating pontoon will be sensitively established, offering the public more opportunities for close-up encounters with the marine and terrestrial biodiversity. Further inland, there will be a coastal plant conservation area and forest trails for the public to explore and learn more about coastal plants and the natural heritage on the island.
Small Sister’s Island will serve as a dedicated site for marine conservation research with facilities to promote species recovery and habitat enhancement. Programmes will be conducted to facilitate visits for schools, institutes and organisations to learn about marine research and initiatives that are carried out in Singapore waters. There will also be a coastal plant conservation area, reef enhancement units and a coral nursery on Small Sister’s Island. NParks will also set up Singapore’s first turtle hatchery, which will be developed through a $500,000 donation from HSBC. The turtle hatchery will provide a dedicated in situ facility to receive, nurture and hatch rescued turtle eggs assessed to be at risk from other coastal areas in Singapore in an effort to increase their survivability.
Launch of Plant-A-Coral, Seed-A-Reef programme
NParks also launched the Garden City Fund’s Plant-A-Coral, Seed-A-Reef programme to provide opportunities for the community to contribute to habitat enhancement efforts in the marine park. Individuals and organisations may offer a donation and sponsor a coral or a Reef Enhancement Unit (REU), which is an artificial structure placed within suitable reef zones to enhance bare areas for marine organisms to grow and reef fish to seek refuge. Targeted coral species will be transplanted from a coral nursery in the marine park to the REUs. Under the NParks’ Citizen Science Programme, divers can also help to monitor growth of the REUs every six months.
To sustain Singapore’s natural heritage, NParks will also continue to engage the community to share information on the importance of marine biodiversity and responsible marine park etiquette, such as not to poach and fish in the Marine Park.