Community consultation- Restoration of Lake Kamnarok Ecosystem
The visit to Lake Kamnarok was a fact-finding mission to establish the lake’s actual situation while consulting with the community, being the primary stakeholders. It also sought to establish the community’s thoughts, commitment to conserving, and interventions to salvage the lake and surrounding ecosystem. The consultative meeting was held on 5th March 2021 next to the drying lake Kamnarok. The meeting had representatives from the county government of Baringo, the community, and organizations working within the Kerio Valley areas.
From our lenses, the following was observed:
- The lake is drying out at a fast rate.
- There is evidence of the previous restoration using sand-filled sacks in 2015 but are worn out.
- Soils around the lake are cracked and is being worsened by the dry season
- The lake is emptying the water, but there is no inflow
- Charcoal burning around the lake was evident whereby the team landed on an ongoing charcoal burning activity.
- Several herds of cattle graze in and around the lake, weakening the soil making it vulnerable to soil erosion and floods
- No vegetation in most parts around the lake
- Deforestation is evident
Key issues raised by the community
- Intense agriculture around the Feeder Rivers and lakeshores exacerbate siltation in the lake.
- There is no notable conservation activity in upstream areas, which form the main catchment areas and source of Lake Kamnarok. The main feeders are Ketiporok and Lelebei rivers.
- The community blamed increasing human activities and lack of conservation mechanisms to curb charcoal burning, heavy grazing, tree cutting, soil erosion, and poor agricultural practices in areas like Ketiborok and around Katimok forests on the upstream.
- The construction of Oinobmoi-Katibel road was blamed for massive siltation in the lake.
- Creating awareness and sensitization on ecosystem conservation among the community members
- Conservation on the upstream areas (tree planting in Katimok forest, Katimorok)
- Tree planting was raised on several occasions as a crucial, simple, short-term, and long-term mechanism that should be adopted immediately. The community suggested that trees should be planted along the rivers in the forested (deforested) upstream areas.
- Planting of grasses was also emphasized and should be done along the rivers and the lake.
- Construction of dykes and gabions