Capitalising on the opportunities presented by the operations, Base Titanium has restored, rehabilitated and established new wetlands within its areas of operation.
Wetlands are under increasing pressure, primarily owing to changes in land use. It is estimated that 64% of Kenya’s wetlands have disappeared. Given the important role they play in maintaining ecosystem health and therefore livelihoods, a focus area in on ensuring that existing wetlands are maintained and those degraded are restored.
A wetland in an area where an ephemeral wetland previously existed has been revived. Prior to 2013 the area had remained dry for a number of years. Having identified it as suitable for rehabilitation, project infrastructure was located to avoid encroachment into the area. Drainage from the tailings storage facility was directed into the former wetland and indigenous sedges, other aquatic vegetation and trees propagated in Base Titanium’s nursery planted out.
The wetland now provides a habitat for both floral and faunal aquatic species of conservation importance. Subsequent amphibian and reptile monitoring has found healthy populations of reed frog species, including the Endangered Shimba Hills Reed Frog (Hyperolius rubrovermiculatus), the Spiny Reed Frog (Leptopelis flavomaculatus) and the Forest Leaf-folding Frog (Afrixalus sylvaticus) together with floral species of conservation importance.
A further expansion of the programme involves the integration of the mine’s storm water management system with wetlands. As a result suitable areas are identified and now established as new wetlands to capitalise on storm water runoff.