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Water pumped to Siem Reap lake to save breeder birds

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Siem Reap provincial administration digging a canal to save the lives of fish and birds at Boeung Perang community conservation area. Boeung Perang community

Water pumped to Siem Reap lake to save breeder birds

Siem Reap provincial authorities and local communities in the Boeung Pearaing breeder conservation area have begun a project to deepen the shallow lake in order to save more than 130 species of breeder birds in the area.

Provincial deputy governor Ngan Phirun told The Post on June 7 that the conservation area is home to many species of birds, but water levels are low every year and causes many birds to die. This has raised concerns about the loss of resources in the area.

“As we know, many birds have recently died due to hot weather and low water levels in the lake. To ensure biodiversity of breeder and rare birds in this area, we need to restore the lake,” he said.

According to Phirun, provincial authorities plan to deepen seven shallow areas in the lake that cover more than 130ha, stretching from Chong Khneas to Chreav communes in Siem Reap town.

But excavation in the area has to be completed in a way so as not to cause flooding or adversely affect forest resources and biodiversity in the lake.

He said the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries had approved the provincial administration’s request to excavate the lake and a joint committee of the provincial administration is implementing the action plan.

“The first project was to deepen the lake and increase water levels to save fish,” he said.

Provincial agriculture department director Tea Kim Soth told The Post that officials from the provincial Fisheries Administration with participation from the community had successfully rescued fish species as a first step.

They had dug, restored sediment and pumped water from small ponds in the upper part of the lake to fill the canal for spawning fish and facilitate the circulation of fish in the area.

“The rescue of breeder fish as an initial step has shown good results, no more dead fish,” he said.

“However, we cannot delay excavation of the lake anymore. The amount of water we have pumped from small ponds has helped, but it cannot guarantee the survival of animals in the lake for a long time while rainfall is still limited,” he added.

Boeng Pearaing Natural Tourism Community head Kong Mongkul told The Post that this project will restore 90ha of Boeung Pearaing in the Chreav commune. In addition to protecting birds, fish and biodiversity, the project also aims at developing the area for ecotourism to generate income for fishermen and farmers and prevent illegal fishing.

“The area with low water levels to be excavated is about 91ha. It does not affect the role of the flooded forest as excavation can only work in the dry season,” he said, adding that the excavation work will be completed within three years, starting from June 2021 to June 2023.

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