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



The KKL-JNF champions the drafting of a comprehensive master plan for the country’s stream basins, as an essential prerequisite for rehabilitation activity. Such plans must be drafted with the top experts from all relevant scientific, conservation, and economic fields, and must undergo meticulous review, as well as being available for public review and comment. In fact, master plans of this type are already at various stages of drafting and implementation for every stream in Israel , and the KKL-JNF supports their progress.

A comprehensive plan for ensuring water quality in freshwater streams must grapple with site-specific pollution sources such as sewage, industrial runoff, and livestock runoff, as well as non-point sources such as agricultural discharges and contamination, urban runoff, and quarrying. As such, the activities required for rehabilitation are varied, and include land stabilization through modifying the agricultural practices and upgrading urban sewage treatment.

The KKL-JNF views positively the establishment of environmentally friendly systems that aid freshwater stream rehabilitation, such as “green basins”, and will act to strengthen them.

A logical assignment of roles to parties engaged in freshwater stream rehabilitation requires professionalization and the exploitation of relative strengths and adva ntages. The broad profile of polluters and pollutants obligates the KKL-JNF, in the context of its involvement in restoration processes, to relate to a broader range of polluters and pollutants than it has in the past.

In order to follow up on the progress of the rehabilitation process, as well as prevent a worsening of the parameters in the streams, the in-stream conditions must be monitored constantly. This monitoring, which constitutes an essential part of any master plan, includes testing the physical and biological conditions of the stream, the chemical, physical, and biological parameters of its water quality, and mapping the potential pollution sources in its drainage basin. The KKL-JNF will direct research activity aimed at strengthening the existing information infrastructure about streams, and will act to support studies aimed at drawing conclusions from cumulative rehabilitation experience.

Each stream needs an accountable party or agency in charge of it, who is obligated to manage it and maintain its health; ideally this party will be local. Therefore, the KKL-JNF supports the establishment of more statutory Stream Authorities as local governmental agencies authorized to ensure each stream’s ongoing maintenance, on the condition that such authorities have the sufficient financial means to implement the tasks assigned to them.

The KKL-JNF, as the steward of lands and responsible for their care and maintenance, sees itself as a partner of the stream authorities, drainage authorities, and every local actor that takes upon itself the responsibility for the management of streams. The KKL-JNF shall join freshwater stream rehabilitation and maintenance efforts nationwide, especially involving stretches of stream included in National Outline Plan no. 22 for Forestry, and any other stretches that shall be designated as specifically its jurisdiction. KKL-JNF activities shall focus on these stretches that shall be implemented in the context of the comprehensive, planned vision for the stream and its drainage basin.

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