Sun, May 15, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Taitung village urges wetland conservation

By Chen Hsien-yi and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

An area in Taitung County’s Jhihben Wetlands is pictured on Thursday.

Photo: Chen Hsien-yi, Taipei Times

Taitung County’s Katratripul Village of the Puyuma community called on both the central and county governments to declare the Jhihben Wetlands (知本濕地) a national ecological conservation site, or at least a local conservation site, so that the wetlands could be preserved.

The village council held a meeting with the Taitung branch of the Society of Wilderness and the Taitung Wild Bird Society to discuss how to protect the area, village council chairman Lin Chin-te (林金德) said, adding that a joint group from the three organizations would be visiting the wetlands today.

The goal of the visit is to inspect whether water from the wetlands spills into farmland to the north and affects farming, an issue that had caused disputes among local residents, Lin said.

Farmers said that water from the wetlands was spilling over to their farmlands, so they dug an outlet to drain the water, but the village said that the wetlands, after months of refilling, had finally returned to a semblance of their former beauty, he added.

The draining of the wetlands caused the deaths of large amounts of fish and shrimp, as well as causing migratory birds to leave, Lin said.

The village hopes to talk with the farmers to find a way to balance the water level in the wetlands, he added.

To that effect, “we are bringing the issue to the attention of the county government and hope that a joint inspection can be undertaken,” he said.

“We hope that through our efforts, the Jhihben Wetlands will be among one of the most important wetlands in the county, and together we should talk about the development and conservation of the wetlands,” he added.

“We have also appealed to legislators whose constituencies are in the county to enlist their help in naming the wetlands an important ecological conservation area,” Lin said.

“If our legislators and government are unwilling to help or take no action, the villagers do not rule out staging protests to help ensure Taitung’s most valuable wetland and ecological system — within the traditional territory of Katratripul Village — is preserved,” Lin added.

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