Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Mahakam River is One of The Longest Rivers in Indonesia

Mahakam was the name a biggest river in the East Kalimantan province that flowed into the Makassar Strait. The river crossed the West Kutai Regency in the upstream part, through to the Kutai Kertanegara Regency and the Samarinda City in the lower part.

The Mahakam river is one of the longest rivers in Indonesia (ie 920 km). It is located in east Kalimantan and receives water from its 77,700 km2 catchment area. Surrounding the middle Mahakam region there are at least 32 (total 76 according to Bappeda I Kaltim, 1982) lakes, their sizes ranging from around 1.2 ha up to the biggest such as Jempang (15,000 ha), Melintang (13.000 ha) and Semayang (11.000). From the total area of Indonesia’s natural lakes (estimated at over 500,000 ha), about 18% (89,719 ha) are located in the district of Kutai, east Kalimantan, almost 10% (48,000 ha) are located in the middle Mahakam area alone.

The Mahakam river since long ago till at this time had had the important role in the life of the community around it as the source of water, the potential for fisheries and as the infrastructure of the transport

The Mahakam river are very rich in biodiversity. A recent study by Wetlands International – Indonesia Programme of the 11 Mahakam lakes located in the southern part of the Mahakam river (e.g. Lake Wis, Perian, Tempatung, Aloh, Grege kecil, Batubumbun, etc) has found about 86 fish species, 125 bird species, 25 mammals, 12 large reptiles, 4 amphibians, and 300 tree species. Some of these animals are listed as endangered within the IUCN red data book (such as the Storm’s Stork Ciconia stormi), listed under Appendix I and II of CITES (eg. Leptoptilos javanensis, Citra indica, Callagur borneoensis) and also protected under the Indonesian regulations (Act number 7/
1999) such as lesser mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus) and Sambar deer (Cervus unicolor). Source: Livinglakes

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