01 October 2015

Pasir Ris check in the haze

On a very hazy evening, yesterday we checked out Pasir Ris because we heard there were signs of algae in the water in the area.
The seagrasses were lush, marine life seemed well, and I didn't come across signs of mass deaths.

There are some large patches of seagrasses on this artificial shore.
The Spoon seagrasses are very healthy and lush, so thick that they 'stand up' even when out of water. I did not come across any that were bleaching. In Mar 2015, I had noticed seagrass bleaching before the mass fish deaths happened.
There were also many small patches of Hairy spoon seagrass.
Spoon seagrass is more common and its leaves are oval in shape. While Hairy Spoon seagrass (right) is less commonly seen and its leaves are longer than wider.
I saw one Hairy sea hare. This animal produces a purple ink when it is disturbed. The rest of the team also saw a Slender seagrass octopus. They also spotted living juveniles of fishes such as filefish, butterfulfish and tripod fish.
A surprise to see one lone Orange fiddler crab on the high shore. Perhaps it got lost. There were also many Stone crabs and the rest of the team saw small Swimming crabs of various kinds.
Some of the rocks had large patches of Zebra coral. But I didn't come across any sponges. All this year, during our surveys of the Northern shores, we have noticed a lack of or decline in number and variety of sponges.
There was a lot of Swimming anemones of various sizes among the seagrasses. And I saw Banded bead anemones on the rocks.
I came across a few small Haddon's carpet anemones. Although none of them were bleaching, I also didn't see any shrimps in them.
Kok Sheng found a See-through sea cucumber. I haven't seen one for a while. Buried in the sand, I saw many Ball sea cucumbers. The rest of the team found other sea cucumbers such as the Garlic bread sea cucumber. As well as a Rock star and Plain sand stars.
There were clumps of seaweed on the shore, mostly Gracilaria and Ulva.
Outside the Park boundary, we found larger clumps of palm oil waste. But there is far fewer of such clumps as in the past, thanks to efforts by agencies to stop this at source. More about palm oil waste. But surprisingly, the entire shoreline here was almost completely clear of trash. This shore is not cleaned because it is outside the Park, and it is usually very heavily trashed. What is happening?
While there were still stretches with 'old trash' that is encrusted and covered in sediments, I noticed some streches were bare of such trash. I noticed the shore in some parts was much firmer and no longer as soft and silty. Has there been a source of 'new sand' that covered the 'old trash'? If so, where did it come from? Also, there seemed to be much less 'new trash'. Have some activities nearby stopped producing 'new trash' recently?
Did the work on the shore that I saw in Apr 2015 result in 'new sand' on the shore?
An excavator on the shore seen in Apr 2015.
Before heading for Pasir Ris, I stopped by Serangoon Reservoir via Lorong Halus. The water at the bridge was murky, with some large fishes hanging near the waters' edge. Although they were not gulping air.
There seems to be a suspension of green stuff in the water. Some kind of freshwater algae bloom? How does this bloom impact the water quality when it is released into the Johor Strait during sluice gate/barrage operations of the Serangoon Reservoir?
The massive work next to Lorong Halus Jetty is still on going. Such work adds stress to the water quality in the Johor Strait.
On the way to Lorong Halus, I saw a truck stopped next to a canal with a large hose in the canal. I'm not sure if they were discharging or sucking in water. Another source of stress that eventually leads to the Johor Strait? [Update 6 Oct: I reported this to PUB on 1 Oct via their facebook page. They replied today - "Thank you for your feedback. The vehicle that was abstracting water from Sungei Blukar belongs to the National Environment Agency's, Department of Public Cleanliness (DPC) contractor. PUB gave permission for the vehicle to abstract water from the waterway for maintenance works. Thank you for your concern and for promptly highlighting this to us. Wishing you a good day ahead."]
The haze was quite bad in town earlier in the day. Do haze particles that dissolve in the water affect water quality? Affect the balance in the water and promote the bloom of Harmful Algae that kill marine life?
Many questions and worries.

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