NATION

Biodegradable Erosion Control – A New Frontier For WWF-Pacific

Over the next month, villagers from the districts of Nacula in the Yasawa chain of islands and Nailaga in Ba will be up-skilled in sennit and coir log weaving to
13 Jul 2016 07:47
Biodegradable Erosion Control –  A New Frontier For WWF-Pacific
Traditional craftsman, Filipe Raturaga of Ono-i-Lau with one of the coir logs he weaved Photo: WWF-Pacific

Over the next month, villagers from the districts of Nacula in the Yasawa chain of islands and Nailaga in Ba will be up-skilled in sennit and coir log weaving to help protect their eroding riverbank and coastlines.

Coir logs are tube shaped erosion control structures woven from sennits(magimagi) derived from coconut fiber which will be embedded along the river bank with a mixture of vetiver grass and native tree, all targeted towards stabilisation and rehabilitation of river banks, waterways and coastlines.

This climate change adaptation project, a first of its kind for this area in Fiji is part of the Great Sea Reef initiative, one of WWF-Pacific’s key programmes.

It is funded by USAID and is a project between WWF-Pacific and the Pacific-American Climate Fund (PACAM) which aims at strengthening governance and resource management for climate resilience in Fiji.

“The PACAM project is a USAID funded project and we are looking at ecosystem services where we will be working on rehabilitating the coastline of Nacula and planting some of the vegetation that used to be there before. We are preparing for what we are going to implement in Nacula, as this coir log rehabilitation is fairly new and innovative natural solution for Fiji,” said WWF-Pacific climate change officer, Rusila Savou.

The workshops will be carried out by specialist and traditional craftsmen Filipe Raturaga from Ono-i-Lau and Epeli Draunidalo from Cicia.

The two skilled art artisans will prepare the weavers of the districts in Yasawa and Ba to effectively protect their eroding coastlines and riverbanks through the utilization of natural resources.

“Within two weeks, we will be in each of the communities; the participants will be able to understand the techniques of weaving to preparing the coconut fibers because it is not hard to learn. One just has to see it with their own eyes and they will be able to learn how to make a sinnet (magimagi)for the coir logs,” said Mr Raturaga.

The month long workshop will enable these villagers to learn the process of husking the fibers, baking the special magimagi coconuts and rolling the weave strands for weaving.

Communities will also participate in planting and caring for the variety of coconuts meant specifically for the process.

More than 70 coconuts and sprouted seedlings from Cicia and Ono-i-Lau will be planted throughout Nacula and Nailaga districts.

“We are mainly focusing on the villages of Nailaga and Nacula. Nailaga village has most of its riverbanks eroded. So they have had two rehabilitations done. One was done in 1985. Those were gabions that were in place and one was just done recently. The section towards Ba town is where the coir log will be placed. This time around, we are trying to implement softer measures so that is why we are using coir logs.”

Savou added that no rehabilitation work was done for the district of Nacula.

“Around 224 meters of the coastline on the front of Nacula village has been eroding in the past years. For instance, their church and health centres are slowing being swallowed by the sea. So they are open to any method that can help them,” she said.

The WWF-Pacific PACAM team will be in Nacula in the Yasawas from the 11th to 21st of July and in Nailaga, in Ba from the 25th to 4thof August.

Source: WWF-Pacific

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