Dik Dik gardens wetland is located in the greenery Kileleshwa in Nairobi County. The wetland is among the few wetlands remaining in Nairobi and for some years been threatened by rapidly growing developments.
The wetland constitutes one of the main sources of water for Kirichwa Ndogo River that feeds into Nairobi River. The area was gazetted as a wetland in 2021.
NEMA in conjunction with the National Environment Tribunal (NET) and other stakeholders chose the wetland to host the launch of wetlands restoration in Nairobi County held on 22nd November, 2023. The launch was led by the Director General, Mamo B. Mamo, EBS on behalf of the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, climate Change and Forestry CS, Hon Soipan Tuya.
The launch is part of the ongoing Government’s efforts to plant 15 billion trees by 2032, restore and conserve wetlands and their associated catchments under the newly conceived “Adopt-a-Wetland Initiative” which seeks to catalyze the participation of various stakeholders in enhancing wetlands conservation in the country.
The Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) are at the center of driving the agenda on behalf of the government. Wetlands are among Kenya’s most productive ecosystems and include lakes, swamps, marshes, rivers and their riparian zones.
Wetlands cover approximately 4% of Kenya’s land surface area. These ecosystems are important sources of construction materials, food, medicine, pasture for livestock and sources of water for domestic and industrial use. Ecologically, wetlands habour diverse habitats which provide feeding and breeding areas for wildlife some of which are endangered, vulnerable, threatened and range restricted. Many of them are also Important Bird Areas (IBA).
The Authority has already mapped over 10,000 wetlands countrywide and are earmarked for tree growing.
Wetlands are perhaps the most threatened ecosystems in Kenya today. They have been targeted for conversion to agriculture and settlement over the past five decades or so, partly due to lack of recognition of their crucial functions and values.
NEMA is rolling out the ‘Adopt-a-Wetland initiative’. The objective of the Adopt-a-wetland initiative is to enhance wetlands restoration and conservation through establishment of lead champions for wetlands conservation.
The stakeholders targeted in the adopt-a-wetland and catchments restoration initiative include government agencies; NGOs; private sector players and individual members of the public. A stakeholder interested in being a lead champion in conservation of a certain wetland will be the ‘wetland adopter’. A wetland adopter will be expected to take lead in mobilizing other stakeholders to plan and implement activities that enhance the ecological integrity and sustainable use of the wetland and catchment ecosystems.
The wetlands restoration efforts are expected to yield immense benefits in the long term such as contribution to the attainment of the 15 billion trees national target by 2032; improved wetlands ecological integrity; as well as improved provision of ecosystem services from targeted wetlands among other benefits.
The exercise to adopt a wetland and grow trees is being undertaken in all the Counties progressively