• Bamboo rafts, mangroves eyed as disaster implements

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    SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union: Environmental cooperative Green Creek and the Environment and Natural Resources Office here will use bamboo rafts , locally called here as raket as rescue implement in floods and plant mangroves on the mouth of an important water course here to solve sand erosion.

    Environment and Natural Resources chief Valmar Valdez said the use of bamboo raft would be environment-friendly, practical, thrifty and flexible in terms of mobility, with bamboo being the city’s One Town, One Product.

    During Typhoon Helen, flood waters rose to as high as five meters in some areas here that immobilized rescue operations particularly motorized vehicles due to impassable roads.

    Meanwhile, Valdez said the long standing problem of sand erosion in the mouth of the Carlatan Bridge Creek might be solved by the planting of mangroves at its banks.

    The creek serves as sea water course towards over 120 combined hectares of fishponds in Carlatan, Lingsat, Dalumpinas Este, Biday and Bangcusay villages which lost over P5-million worth of bangus and tilapia fingerlings and shrimp spawns in April this year because the water dried up.

    “The drying-up was caused by sand erosion and eventually, silt that the mouth of the creek narrowed and that sea water hardly penetrates,” city fishery head Dolores Gurtiza said.

    “Although matters concerning these have since been the responsibility of the City Agriculture, we planned to plant mangroves directly on the banks of the creek’s mouth to hold the sand,” Valdez said.

    He added that they will tap some residents who formed the Green Creek Cooperative, which is composed of 50 fish cage operators, led by president Eng. Robert Ranchez. The group propagates progules of mangroves and planted on fish ponds and maintains and safeguards them from firewood gatherers.

    “Some of the propagations are also being sold from a minimum price of P10 to P25 to buyers even from other places,” Valdez said.

    The City Environment and Natural Resources has planted over 140,000 to 200,000 mangroves since 2000 during the administration of Mayor Mary Jane Ortega.

    “We usually plant in December to June,” he said.

    The creek did some dredging using backhoe but soil sediments and piled sand was washed back by sea current and clogged water entry.

    Since rains have refilled the fishpond, Valdez is worried that it may not be enough to remedy the plight of fish-pond operators in the next summer season.

    “Mangroves may be the long-term solution, we’re talking of 15 years before they are fully-grown but for now, it is the only natural remedy,” he said.

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