Best of our wild blogs: 1 Nov 14

Garden Stories: Thomas Lim of Edible Gardens
from The Tender Gardener

Common Iora – a sub species unique to Singapore
from Singapore Bird Group

Flying Dragons - Flashing Females
from Bird Ecology Study Group

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New Springleaf Nature Park near Mandai Road opens

Leong Wai Kit Channel NewsAsia 1 Nov 14;

SINGAPORE: Residents near Nee Soon will have one more new park for activities with the opening of Springleaf Nature Park on Saturday (Nov 1).

The 6-hectare park has a deck for bird-watching and a network of trails. It is the first of four new nature parks which will be unveiled.

The other three slated for opening are Chestnut, Thomson and Windsor Nature Parks.

National Parks Board (NParks) said the new nature parks would give users more alternatives for activities and help ease visitorship pressure on the Central Catchment Nature Reserve.

The new park was unveiled on Saturday by Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee.

- CNA/by

Go birdwatching at new nature park
Feng Zengkun The Straits Times AsiaOne 4 Nov 14;

Residents near the Upper Thomson side of the Central Catchment Nature Reserve can now go to a new nature park for birdwatching, table tennis and other activities.

The 6ha Springleaf Nature Park officially opened yesterday and is the first of four new nature parks to be built around the reserve.

By providing alternative venues for people to enjoy activities in nature, the National Parks Board (NParks) hopes to reduce the number of visitors to the reserve to minimise the impact on its vegetation and wildlife.

Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee, who was the guest of honour, noted that Singapore's four nature reserves safeguard key ecosystems here, such as tropical rainforests, freshwater swamp forests, mangroves and coastal hill forests.

"Even as we become more urbanised, we will continue to protect our nature reserves by establishing green buffers around them," he said.

Two nature parks around the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve serve the same purpose.

The Hindhede Nature Park opened in 2001 and the Dairy Farm Nature Park followed in 2009.

Mr Lee said that the new Springleaf Nature Park is also important for its history.

"This site... was formerly a kampung known as Chan Chu Kang, named after the headman Chan Ah Lak who acquired 18ha in 1850 to cultivate gambier and pepper near the Seletar River," he said.

Residents near Springleaf Nature Park said it was a scenic place to take walks and observe birds.

According to NParks, it serves as a habitat for more than 80 species of resident and migratory birds.

"It's nice and clean, and I like that the trail is flat and not undulating," said 57-year-old housewife Roselyn Lim.

"I can come for walks in the evenings and bring friends who are visiting."

Construction of the second of the four new parks - the Chestnut Nature Park - will start soon.

The park will be completed in 2016. At 80ha, the much largerpark will have hiking and biking trails and a seven-storey tower to give visitors a panoramic view of the greenery.

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Malaysia: Penang may freeze new development projects

PRIYA PUBALAN New Straits Times 31 Oct 14;

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government is considering a freeze of new development projects in Sungai Relau and Sungai Ara area until a detailed study on storm water management is carried out.

This comes on the heels of flash floods hitting many parts of Bayan Baru and Relau here on Wednesday, the worst in recent years, making many roads impassable to light vehicles.

State Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the developer of a river diversion project had been ordered to take immediate measures to desilt Sungai Relau.

"The Drainage and Irrigation Department, the Public Works Department and the Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) have ordered the developer to desilt the river.

"We have completed the site visit. We are thinking of freezing new applications for development projects in the area until a detailed study on the drainage system and water storm management is laid out.

"Apart from that, the developer will also be getting Telekom Malaysia Bhd to complete their cable works on the new bridge at Jalan Dato Ismail Hashim. Once completed, I hope flash floods will not occur," he said, adding that the bridge is expected to reduce traffic congestion in Bayan Baru and Relau.

The flash floods, caused by a downpour which started at 11am, some low-lying areas were knee-deep in water, resulting in many stalled vehicles.

The floods also caused a massive traffic snarl in the Bayan Baru township, home to one of the most densely-populated areas on the island.

Other areas such as Sungai Ara and Paya Terubong were not spared as well.

Meanwhile, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) said the drainage system in these areas should be looked into to prevent flash floods in the future.

Its president S.M. Mohamed Idris urged the state government to stop high rise developments on the island, which was also believed to have aggravated the flash floods.

"Enough damage is done in the island. I do not think the island can cope with more developments.

"Those times Relau and Bayan Baru area had very poor drainage system and for some time it was under control.

"Once developments take place, it causes flash floods similar to the challenges faced by Penangites back in the 90s," he said when contacted.

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