Wetlands are known to perform crucial functions and provide vital products and services essential for environmental integrity and human well- being. Apart from being biodiversity hotspots, the wetland resources are equally crucial for income generation and a source of livelihood and well-being of the communities.

Embu County depicts distinct areas with different agro-climatic and natural characteristics. The County is served by six major rivers which are Thuci, Tana, Kii, Rupingazi, Thiba and Ena. There are also some major dams which generate hydroelectric power for the country that are partly in the county. These include Masinga, Kiambere, Kindaruma and Gitaru dams which are situated along the Tana River. The rivers traverse several swamps where farmers derive their livelihoods through farming activities.

Agriculture is the mainstay of the county and livelihood of the people. The sector employs 70.1% of the population and 87.9% of the households are engaged in different forms of agricultural activities. 

However, Agriculture has also been documented as the main driver of wetlands loss globally. The county has a population of approximately 516,212 with a growth rate of 14% per annum. The growing population compounded with impacts of climate change has resulted to deterioration and overexploitation of natural resources in the county.

Consequently, NEMA in collaboration with county Government of Embu, supported by EU-FAO DLGP has initiated a program to reclaim and restore these very critical and sensitive ecosystems.

On 14th May 2024, a team from NEMA led by Board Chairman, Emilo Mugo, Director General, Mamo B. Mamo, EBS and staff paid a courtesy call to the Embu Governor Her Excellency, Hon. Cecily Mbarire to brief her on the planned wetlands restoration activities as well as World Environment Day 2024 national celebrations which will be held in Embu County-University of Embu.

During the visit, various wetlands were identified for restoration (Kiambuthu, Ngirimarie, Kariuri 1 &2, Gatituri springs wetland and Ega Nungu,) activities such as fencing and planting of bamboo on riparian reserve were planned.

Kiambuthu wetland will be restored during the World Environment Day celebrations through tree growing. This is an urban wetland located adjacent to a settlement area. Fencing of the site is priority to promote natural regeneration and eventually developed into a green space that can be used by the local communities for leisure.

By Caroline Muriuki

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