US$3.9 Million Watershed Project Launched

Photo by: JIS PhotographerMinister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, delivering the keynote address at the launch of the US$3.9 million Yallahs and Hope River Watershed Project, held on April 13, at the Terra Nova Hotel, in St. Andrew.

 

The Government has launched a US$3.9 million project to protect the Yallahs and Hope River areas from degradation, and improve water resource management.

The five-year project, which is funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through the Global Environment Facility, will also seek to achieve institutional strengthening and capacity building for integrating biodiversity into watershed management.

Delivering the keynote address at the launch, held on April 13, at the Terra Nova Hotel, in St. Andrew, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, said the project will create economic and sustainable livelihoods, as it will boost agriculture and forestry in watershed communities.

“Through these activities, more than 200 community persons will be trained in various areas, such as land husbandry, best practices, fire management, eco-tourism and other small business ventures,” the Minister noted.

Adding that degraded lands will be restored under the project, Mr. Pickersgill said persons should expect higher water yield, and sustainable land management in the Yallahs and Hope River watershed areas, which “can only redound to greater efficiencies and effective results.”

“Other beneficial activities will include the reforestation of 400 hectares of degraded land, development of six on-farm demonstration plots, and the commissioning of market studies for development of alternative livelihoods in four communities in the Yallahs and Hope Watershed Management Areas,” he pointed out.

The Minister also announced that the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has granted $11 million for the implementation of a Watershed Area Management Mechanism (WAMM) for Black River, in St. Elizabeth.

“The WAMM is gradually being implemented in several watersheds and has several components that integrate community and Government agencies, planning and action, for which the community takes ownership,” he told his audience.

The Minister further stated that all protected areas are within watersheds, and the Global Environment Facility, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and others will be able to finance protected areas for improved management.

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