Focus On Watersheds On National Wood And Water Day - NEPA

October 3, 2014

The National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) is encouraging Jamaicans to plant and care for trees as one way to promote rainfall and reduce the effects of severe climatic conditions.

The call comes as the country celebrates National Wood and Water Day on Saturday 4 October 2014 with the planting of trees and a school presentation on Friday 3 October 2014.

National Wood and Water Day is an environmental event that originated in Jamaica. It was first celebrated in 1985. The focus of the event is to reduce deforestation and improve the quality of degraded watersheds.

Lisa Kirkland, Coordinator with responsibility for Watersheds in the Ecosystems Management Branch at NEPA says healthy watersheds are critical to ensuring that the island continues to have sufficient potable water supply.

She emphasized that planting of native trees is one of the ways in which individuals can help to improve the island's watersheds and so safeguard its water supply.

"Trees protect our watersheds by reducing landslides and flooding. Their root systems help to bind the soil together thereby preventing soil erosion. Trees also assist in the retention of water thus enabling watersheds to yield adequate quantities and good quality of freshwater," said Kirkland.

The activities to mark the day are being conducted in collaboration with NEPA and other state agencies, community organizations and environmental stakeholders and will take place in four Watershed Management Units, such as Black River in St. Elizabeth; Rio Grande and Spanish River in Portland and Martha Brae in Trelawny.

The activities are part of a reforestation initiative being undertaken by the Agency in support of effective watershed management under its Conservation and Protection Programme.

The activities planned are:

  • Planting of trees in Crawford, St. Elizabeth in partnership with the Social Development Commission and stakeholders from the Black River Watershed.
  • Planting of trees at the Duanvale Primary School, Trelawny in collaboration with the Cockpit Country Local Forestry Management Committee.
  • Planting of trees at Chepstowe Basic School, Portland. The activities are in partnership with the Forestry Department and will include presentations about the importance of protecting watersheds at the Port Antonio High School.

The trees were donated by the Forestry Department which spearheads National Tree Planting Day, observed on Friday October 3.

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