• 2016-10-28 topics > No.32 Public Participation Survey of a Restored River Environment – Autumn 2016
    On 16 October 2016, a public participation survey on a restored river environment was conducted in the Kushiro River section where the meander was restored to a natural stream section (approximately 5.5 kilometers from Kayanuma to Sugawara). Participants canoed down the river, observing riverbank vegetation, landscapes, animals, plants and other elements of the surrounding environment along the way. They stopped at a sandbank to examine their size and geological formations.

    After completion of the survey, participants summarized their findings and results. They shared a great deal of information, such as it was their first time to see white-tailed eagle, many fallen trees along the river after a massive typhoon tore through the eastern Hokkaido in August, and the difference in water colour between the two streams at their confluence.

    The event was originally planned for 17 September, but was postponed to 16 October 24 due to the typhoon.

    This initiative was implemented with river improvement funding provided by the River Foundation.
  • 2016-10-17 topics > No.31 KIWC hosts JICA Training Program on Eco-tourism for Officials on Nature Conservation
    From 23 August to 5 October 2016, KIWC ran a training program under commission from the JICA Hokkaido International Center (Obihiro). The aim of this training was to provide insight into eco-tourism programs involving local residents as a tool for the conservation and sustainable use of local natural and cultural resources. Six government administrative officials and NGO staff members involved in tourism promotion and wildlife protection from nine countries attended this training program. Countries represented were Georgia, Myanmar, Philippines, Samoa, Suriname and Vietnam.

    The participants experienced eco-tours involving local residents that take local environments and wildlife into consideration at Nakasatsunai Village, Lake Shikaribetsu and Kushiro wetlands (specifically Kiritappu-shitsugen, Bekambeushi-shitsugen and Kushiro-shitsugen). There, they witnessed examples of sightseeing tours operated by local residents that take advantage of local industries, such as agriculture, livestock farming and fisheries.

    The participants then traveled from Hokkaido to Tokyo and Kyoto to participate programs allowing them to gain insight into the perspective of eco-tourism from certain aspects of Japanese history and culture, including Japanese traditional way of life, and historic sites. They were also given presentations on eco-tourism theories and policies. The participants also visited Okinawa, where they participated in sea kayaking and other programs to learn how local people utilize eco-tourism with their viewpoints and experiences.

    On the last day of the course, the participants presented their final reports at the JICA Tokyo International Center. The concepts were tailored to actual situations in each country, and included ideas developed in Japan to encourage the use of natural and cultural regional assets in order to promote tourism and the allocation of profits in a way that will benefit the relevant locality.
  • 2016-07-22 topics > No.30 Public Participation Survey of a Restored River Environment – Summer 2016
    On 10 July 2016, a public participation survey on a restored river environment was conducted in the Kayanuma District of Shibecha Town, where the meander of the Kushiro River has been restored. This was the thirteenth survey since 2010, and was attended by 27 people including local residents and KIWC staff members.

    Participants were divided into three groups (a soil survey team, an aquatic organism survey team and a vegetation survey team) and carefully conducted their surveys under the guidance of experts. The soil survey team investigated riverside geological formations and river sandbank scale to gauge the status of sedimentation and flooding in the restored channel. The aquatic organism survey team observed fish in different habitats at survey locations. Meanwhile, the vegetation survey team investigated vegetation changes in four demarcated areas of the forest

    After the survey, participants assembled at a nearby facility to look back on and summarise their surveys. They then compared their survey results with past data and discussed changes they found.

    The event provided valuable opportunities to witness the works and impacts of the meandering river.

    This initiative was implemented with the River Improvement Fund provided by the River Foundation.
  • 2016-07-22 topics > No.29 KIWC hosts JICA Training Course on the Sustainable Use of Wetland Resources for Local Benefit
    From 17 May to 6 July 2016, eight government administrative officials from Mexico, Uruguay, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Colombia, China, Malaysia and Tajikistan came to Japan to learn about the sustainable use of wetland resources for local benefit.

    This issue-specific training program was organised by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in collaboration with Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, and was hosted by the Kushiro International Wetland Centre (KIWC).

    Traveling from Tokyo to Chiba, Okinawa, Fujiyoshida, Tochigi and Hokkaido, the trainees learned about a variety of wetlands, including marshes, tidal flats, coral reefs, rivers and rice paddies. Specifically, they were introduced to activities and initiatives conducted to conserve wetlands in these areas, methods and ideas to use them for industry and education, and other efforts. They had opportunities to talk directly with people engaged in conservation activities, local residents and government officials at Ramsar sites including Yatsu-higata (Chiba), Manko (Okinawa) and Watarase-yusuichi (Tochigi), as well as Kushiro Wetland, Lake Akkeshi and Bekambeushi Wetland, and Kiritappu Wetland (Hokkaido). Through these interactions, the trainees learned the background behind decisions to implement conservation efforts as well as examples of regional development utilising wetland characteristics (e.g., branding of agricultural and fishery products, related utilisation for tourism, and environmental education).

    Based on these various experiences, the trainees developed draft activity plans to be implemented after returning to their countries to promote the conservation and sustainable use of wetland resources and biodiversity by local residents for local residents. They gave presentations on these plans at the end of the training program.
  • 2016-02-09 topics > No.28 Winter Eco-Tour 2016 held in Celebration of World Wetlands Day
    The Winter Eco-Tour 2016 for local residents was held on January 30, 2016, to mark the annual World Wetlands Day (February 2). During the event’s fieldwork and at a workshop held at Kushiro-shitsugen (Kushiro Wetland) and Lake Toro, KIWC Technical Committee Chair Mr. Hisashi Shinsho provided commentary on ideas including how the blessings of wetlands can be preserved for future generations in order to enrich people’s lives in line with this year’s theme of Wetlands for our Future: Sustainable Livelihoods.

    Participants started the eco-tour near Lake Toro, where they created bark rubbings on paper to highlight differences between textures and other variations. They then trekked over the snow-covered Lake Toro and observed frost flowers, animal footprints and pond smelt in the lake. The walk kept the group warm on this very chilly day, when morning temperatures fell below minus 20 degrees Celsius, and was followed by a meal of deep-fried local pond smelt (a blessing of the wetland) provided by local outdoor pursuits company Lakeside Toro.

    At an afternoon treasure hunt workshop, attendees learned about eco-tours and treasure hunting in nature. The earnest and lively discussions helped to highlight local treasures related to the wetland, and attendees planned eco-tours by which these resources can be leveraged for community revitalization. Inspired by their wetland fun, related films and other stimuli, the group came up with various ideas in the workshop’s lively atmosphere for eco-tours that would promote the conservation and wise use of wetlands as well as community revitalization.