SeaTrees Mangrove Restoration at Mida Creek in Watamu, Kenya

Mida Creek, located within the Malindi Watamu National Marine Park and Reserve, is approximately 90 miles (140 km) north of Mombasa, Kenya's second largest city. The Mida Creek tidal inlet covers an area of 32 km^2. One of the most productive mangrove ecosystems in the world, Mida Creek is a recognized International Bird Area and together with Arabuko-Sokoke Forest forms a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. It is a paradise for national waterfowls, and for migrating birds from Europe and Eurasia that find a place to rest during their journey or choose to stay at Mida Creek to over-winter.

The open areas of the Creek and its mangrove channels are important feeding and breeding grounds for many fish species including Jacks, Snappers, Groupers, Rabbit Fish, Parrotfish, Emperors, and Barracuda.

Equally varied in numbers and distribution is the aquatic flora of Mida Creek. 11 seagrass and 33 seaweed species are found here alongside 9 species of mangrove tree. Both sea grasses and mangrove trees serve to trap sediments, benefiting local coral reefs and providing an important habitat for many marine species.

Mida Creek is also an important feeding and development area for juvenile green and hawksbill sea turtles. Coral heads and the rich seagrass beds provide food in a sheltered area away from large predators.

Mangrove deforestation threatens the foundation of the creek ecosystem. Mangrove trees have been illegally harvested for building lumber and charcoal production. Working with local communities, the impacted areas are regenerated by planting and protecting native mangroves species.

SeaTrees has partnered with local nonprofit COBEC to plant approximately 1 Million mangrove trees throughout the Mida Creek Region over an 18 month period.

COBEC works with the local communities in the Mida Creek region to strategically replant mangroves in deforested areas. More than 200 people are employed to restore the mangrove forests. These communities are educated on the environmental and economic importance of these ecosystems, and employed to grow seedlings, collect mangrove propagules, plant mangrove trees, and monitor the growth of the trees.

COBEC has partnerships with a range of other important local stakeholders to improve the long-term success of the project and survival of the trees being planted. These partners include: Kenya Wildlife Service, Kenya Forest Service, Kenya Fisheries Service (KeFS), Kenya Forestry Research Institute, and Watamu Marine Association.