Mara River Basin Hydro-Graphics
THE MARA RIVER BASIN is known worldwide for its annual migration of 2 million wildebeest and zebra north from the Serengeti Plains to the Mara River. Recent community-based efforts within the Maasai Mara Game Reserve have provided a successful management model for other East African protected areas. Yet there is severe degradation in the watershed’s Mau Forest headwaters and its Lake Victoria terminus in Tanzania.
The 1-million-acre Mau Forest Complex, Kenya’s largest water catchment, provides water to the Mara River and millions of people in Kenya, Tanzania and the White Nile River basin downstream of Lake Victoria. Illegal deforestation and encroachment in these headwaters have destroyed 25% of the forest. Downstream, a proposed highway would bisect Serengeti National Park, threatening the future of wildlife herds and World Heritage Site ecosystems. Lake Victoria’s shores are clogged with algae blooms fed by the Mara River’s run-off and invasive species. Reforestation, limits on tourism growth and family planning are now regional priorities to insure the survival of rivers, lakes and all species in the Rift Valley, Western Kenya and in the greater Nile River Basin.
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