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Lake Naivasha, Kenya: Ecohydrology to guide the management of a tropical protected area

By David M. Harper and Kenneth Mavuti

Abstract

Full text of this item is not currently available on the LRA. \ud The final published version is available at http://www.ecohydro.pl/index.php.The present ecological and hydrological state of Lake Naivasha, a tropical freshwater Ramsar site, is reviewed from existing research. The ecology of the lake was formerly regulated by ecohydrological control exerted on the inflowing hydrochemistry by the continuous fringing papyrus, with a full swamp on the inflow rivers' delta. The ecology of the lake since that time has been severely disrupted by alien (or exotic) species invasions, particularly the Louisiana crayfish Procambarus clarkii. Lake-wide papyrus degradation has also been occurring since about 1980, following a lake level decline of up to 3m through agri-industrial abstraction. The river Malewa, which previously ran through a swamp, now runs directly into the lake, bringing high silt and nutrient loads in wet seasons, making the lake eutrophic.\ud It is suggested that sustainable management of the lake should focus upon three ecohydrological objectives - control of abstractions to achieve hydrological balance, physical restoration of the former North Swamp and the control of illegal fishing. The latter would enable the commercial fishery returns to maximum sustainable yield so that large M. salmoides (large mouthed bass) individuals once again impose a ‘top-down’ control upon P. clarkii, and the crayfish itself be commercially exploited

Topics: Procambarus clarkii, Cyperus papyrus, Ramsar site, wise use, water resources, integrated water management
Publisher: Versita
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9329
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