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Environment and Conservation: Rare Blue Damselflies and Crabs return to the Kishon River

The Kishon River used to be very polluted, perhaps even the dirtiest river in Israel. Once, soldiers who did military exercises in the river contracted illnesses and filed lawsuits against the army for compensation. But it looks like the Kishon’s days of pollution are over as ten years ago the Kishon River Authority started to rehabilitate the river in response to public pressure to improve the environment and Israel’s public spaces. Evidently their efforts paid off as the water quality of the river is vastly improved and wildlife that was indigenous to the region is starting to come back to the river.

The newest tenant to return to the Kishon River is the Blue Damselfly. This past spring Dr. Yaron Hershkowitz, of the Center for Aquatic Ecology at the Steinhardt Museum of Nature at Tel Aviv University, monitored the water quality of the river for the river authority. He pointed out that although adult blue damselflies were found in the area before this is the first time their larvae were found in the waters of the river. This shows the river’s water quality upstream is greatly improved.

Dr. Hershkowitz says that this species of the blue damselfly is unique to the eastern Mediterranean region and is classified ‘Red’ by the International Organization for Nature Conservation as a “red” meaning it is in danger of extinction. Hopefully this trend will be reversed now.

In addition another tenant has returned to the Kishon River’s waters, a shrimp like crab called Corophium. Again these live in river outlets where the water is clean. Sharon Nissim of the Kishon River Authority says these findings are very encouraging and show us our rehabilitation efforts are paying off.


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