Getting To Know The Kranji Marshes
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Published: February 22, 2016

admin | Article | 22 February, 2016

    Singapore is already known for its many manmade green areas and the latest expansion to the Kranji area only serve to expand the city’s aim of creating more natural sanctuaries for its residents to explore. Created out of the need to increase the country’s water supply, reservoirs are a common sight here and for Kranji Reservoir, the process of having Sungei Kranji dammed up eventually lead to the creation of the Kranji Marshes.

    Aerial view of Raptor Tower at Kranji Marshes. (Image © NParks. All rights reserved.)

    Aerial view of Raptor Tower at Kranji Marshes. Image © NParks. All rights reserved.

     

    The low-lying grounds flooded with water as it flowed into the reservoir, forming a freshwater marshland. Left on its own, thick vegetation grew rampantly and covered the open water surface, causing natural food sources for wild birds to be cut off. A decision was made to clear off the vegetation and eventually lead to further developments of the area. Located to the south of Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Kranji Marshes is part of the third phase of the Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve Masterplan and is an important area for the conservation of biodiversity.

    Kranji Gate. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Kranji Gate. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    The Process

    As a tribute to its past, 29 Keranji Tress—vegetation that used to be found in the area from which the area’s name was derived—were planted. As the aim was to allow for more accessibility to the area and introduce visitors to the biodiversity of the area and efforts of conservation, amenities were introduced in the Kranji Marshes. During the process of transforming the area, conscientious efforts were made to minimise the impact on wildlife and their habitats.

    Kingfisher Burrow. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Kingfisher Burrow. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Works were done from a 50-metre setback from sensitive areas and most structures were prefabricated off-site. Prefabrication allowed the exclusion of piling works, which would have created much noise and disruptions. All the facilities and amenities were designed to blend in with the environment, away from the core conservation area, with the main visitor centre located a distance from the marshlands.

    Moorhen Blind. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Moorhen Blind. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    The area has also been divided into two main sectors, a public area and a restricted core area that is only available through guided tours. Guided tours will enable visitors to maximise their experience to the marshland, catching sights of the natural living things in the area without causing much disruptions to the immediate surroundings.

    Exploring the marshes

    Kranji Gate. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Kranji Gate. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    As visitors enter the main entrance, they will be greeted by a small-scale marshland, giving a taste of what is to come during the visit to the area. Two man-made ponds filled with marshland plants have been added, simulating the actual filtering functioning of the marshes. The ponds are able to collect rainwater and filter out any sediment before it flows into the canal leading to the reservoir. Efforts at being eco-friendly are evident all over the marshes.

    The arch at Kingfisher Burrow for example, are decorated with tree trunks that double up as benches. Visitors can also utilise the Raptor Tower, which offers panoramic views of the marshes at height. It boasts a roof that is partially opened; enabling one to capture views of birds flying overhead. This prefabricated tower has been designed to emulate a bird protecting its nest on a tree, with a weather vane shaped like a bird and balustrade wrapped around the top platform.

    Raptor Tower. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Raptor Tower. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Along the marshes are also two blinds (open-air structures) that allow 20 people to fit in comfortably at any one time, while six sheltered structures (hides) serve as a comfortable stop for visitors to observe wildlife at close quarters. Although these hides were not prefabricated, their construction was carefully done to minimise any impact on the surroundings. A two-metre high fence was erected to block noise from being disseminated to the natural inhabitants.

    Lapwing Hide. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Lapwing Hide. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Apart from the blinds and hides, visitors can also utilise two boardwalks that were built across water bodies that link the marshlands together. Made from modular high-density cubes, they are anchored with reinforced concrete weights and eliminated the need for piling work. Interestingly, the floating cubes can be detached from the sides to float out as pontoons for research and maintenance work.

    Reed Crossing. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Reed Crossing. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

    Woodpecker Shelter. Image © Urban Redevelopment Authority. All rights reserved.

     

    Residents of the marshes

    Signs explaining the rich biodiversity are displayed throughout the area with emphasis on the signature bird species of the marshes. The efforts in enhancing the Kranji Marshes has seen an increase in resident and migratory bird species, including nationally threatened species such as the Purple Swamphen and the successful release of several rescued Red-wattled Lapwings chicks. As the soil in the marshes is partially or completely submerged in water, it is able to support a wide range of aquatic plants, which attract many insects, fishes and water birds.

    Written By : Sarah AK

     

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