Mohamed M. El-Shazly
Entomology Department, Faculty of Science, Cairo University, Giza, Egypt
The Nile delta wetland ecosystems are located on the Southern Mediterranean coast; they include four shallow coastal brackish lakes (Manzala, Burullus, and Edku and Mariut lagoons). These sites are permanent water bodies connected with the Mediterranean Sea by means of narrow outlets. Besides being among the most important and productive wetland ecosystems in the country; Egyptian delta wetlands provide unique habitats for several globally endangered and endemic species and have been designated as an Important Bird Area for resident and migratory birds. Consequently, one of them, Burullus lagoon, is a Ramsar convention site. Paradoxically, these ecosystems have been threatened by “human – ecosystem” positive feedback loops emerged from random urbanization, industrialization and agricultural intensification, as well as the abuse of these natural habitats in fish farming business. These positive feedback loops are strictly well documented by the shrinkage of waterbody areas of the lakes and the reported severe eutrophication during the last few decades. This article introduces the three primary Nile delta lagoons, namely, Manzala (located on the Northeastern edge of the Nile Delta), Burullus (located in the central part of the northern shoreline of the Nile Delta) and Edku (located on the Northwestern edge of the Nile Delta). They are all in areas of intensive agriculture (including aquaculture) and are highly disturbed ecological systems. This work presents the results of three years field and laboratory studies committed over the last three years (2012 - 2015). Water, sediments, aquatic plants and edible fish samples have been obtained from the three lakes, and subjected to various studies including pesticide residues, heavy metals, dioxin and microbiological analysis. This article presents a discussion on the integrated management and rehabilitation of our wetland ecosystems through hydrological, ecological and biotechnological strategies, including the use of bio- remediating and bio-controlling agents such as plants, microorganisms and fishes. Finally, the author recommended the implementation of an action plane integrating a range of hydrological, ecological, economic, biotechnological and social perspectives to Rehabilitate and sustain the natural Nile delta wetland ecosystems.