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Bringing Israel’s Freshwater Streams Back to Life: KKL-JNF’s Sustainable Development Policy

Restoration Principles


The Ecological Principle

Elimination of pollutants and subsequently ensuring the renewed flow of streams that flowed in the past are the primary tasks at the beginning of the rehabilitation process. When this has been accomplished, actions should be taken to improve the landscape and recreational options along the stream’s banks. These objectives dictate the KKL-JNF’s restoration philosophy and priorities.

While landscape and scenery improvement along the banks is a vital part of the rehabilitation process, ultimately, such activity is secondary in importance to treating the stream itself and to the abating of pollution sources that must take place in the initial stages of rehabilitation.

The quality of water in the streams must be based on chemical, physical, and biological standards derived from the stream’s ecological needs, its planned uses, and its carrying capacity. The KKL-JNF will act to ensure meticulous adherence to these standards in those stretches of stream that are sensitive and require special ecological conditions, enabling the flow of clean water and the support of rare species’ habitats.

Restoration activities shall include habitat improvement, for instance riffles in areas where underwater vegetation grows that protrudes above the surface, together with maximum use of indigenous species.   Moreover, springs constitute a special component along the streams, and likewise require special treatment in ongoing planning and management.

The KKL-JNF strives to restore to the streams water whose properties are as similar as possible to that which flowed there in the past. This effort has far-reaching ecological implications involving the distinctions between various habitats. Estuaries, for example, constitute particularly rich ecosystems that are harmed when the natural balance between fresh water and saltwater is disturbed.

Beyond their function as homes to aquatic ecosystems, freshwater streams constitute a water source for land animals. Therefore, the streams’ roles are particularly vital as natural ecological corridors. The KKL-JNF will cooperate with all governmental agencies to ensure that rehabilitation plans will strengthen stream ecosystems and preserve the continuity of natural ecological corridors.

The KKL-JNF supports, to the extent possible, utilization of water in the down stream segments enabling maximum flow along most stretches of the stream stream.  In addition, the agitation of water in the upstream segments facilitating its natural purification should enable multiple use of water that is allocated for flow in the streams.

Regarding tourist attractions along streams, the KKL-JNF prefers dispersed development in “patches” along the stream corridor as opposed to uniform and continuous development. The patch development model is eminently suitable to streams and enables the flora and fauna therein to cope with localized, intensive human impact.

Regarding water flow along the streams’ banks, the KKL-JNF prefers diverse vegetation species compatible with the environment, that are flood-resistant and that support local fauna. Examples of these include acacia, oleander, chaste tree, and mila. In certain stretches along the stream banks, the KKL-JNF will prioritize new plantings to facilitate the improvement of recreation sites. Planning of the routing of the flow must attempt to reflect the stream’s natural pathway, thereby minimizing possible harm to the ecosystem, flora, and fauna throughout.

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