Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and
hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student,
Stephen Johansson, makes makes this connection here…

This post is about an article, “Israel Restores Wetlands; Birds Make It Their Winter Home,” written by Larry Abramson for npr.org.  This article, related to the WRE domain of hydrology, is about restoration of wetlands in Northern Israel. A while ago, like many countries at the time, Israel purposely began to drain their wetlands. However, Israel realized their mistake in the 1990’s and began restoring these wetlands. This led to an increase in wildlife visitors, such as cranes during winter.  In very short time, over 30,000 cranes began stopping in Israel on their way to Africa for winter which led to destruction of crops and fields in the area. To resolve this issue, biologists developed a strategy to feed corn and other feed to the cranes using big tractors, so they would stop eating from the farmers’ fields.  In my opinion, the article gives a great explanation on what is happening now but does not discuss the engineering aspect, such as explaining what it takes to drain and restore these wetlands.  There are several ways to restore wetlands, such as tile removal, tile breaks and Ditch plugs (Wetland Restoration Techniques, 1999).  Essentially, these approaches plug the drainage that occurs in the wetland. 

The broad context of this article seems to be a combination of economic and environmental.  Restoration of wetlands is excellent for the environment and surrounding wildlife.  Without the wetlands, there would be a change in wildlife that could drastically change the environment. Restoration of these wetlands helped avoid such issues. This effort was beneficial in economic standpoint as well. The increasing number of visitors coming to watch the cranes has turned the place into a major attraction. This has created opportunities for income generation, such as through paid guided tours.


Cranes fly at sunset above the Hula Valley of northern Israel in January. Millions of birds pass through the area as they migrate south every winter from Europe and Asia to Africa. Some now stay in the Hula Valley for the entire winter.



Wetland Restoration Techniques. (1999, 11 14). Retrieved 02 23, 2013, from Private Land Partnerships Working Together for Wildlife: http://www.michigandnr.com/publications/pdfs/huntingwildlifehabitat/landowners_guide/habitat_mgmt/wetland/wetland_restoration_techniques.htm