This Marsh is a protected area in Rwanda and also known as Ruhegeri marsh covering over 6,735 hectares. This wetland is one of the head waters of the Nile which is situated in the Buberuka highlands of the Northern Province. This marsh has an altitude of 2,100m and it developed from an accumulation of the organic materials within a quartite rock trapping water depression.
Rugezi Marsh has played significant hydrological, ecological, socio- economical, recreational as well as historic roles in Rwanda. It is also an important area which is recognized by birdlife international. It’s a habitant to over 43 bird species which are found within and the surrounding areas, the Rugezi marsh is found on over 8,500 hectares and the specific species found here include; White winged swamp warbler, Grauer’s swamp warbler and many more.
The marsh is found on a high altitude valley which was created due to the uplift of Buberuka highlands. Its hills were caused due to erosion and are formed in round shape. Rugezi marsh geological formation consists of the metamorphic rocks and the ridges which are surrounding its flooded marsh. It formed a dense mat over floating peat formation with in its deep waters. The area receives an average annual rainfall of about 1,200 millimeters.
This marsh land also works as a regulating basin which helps in moderating the inflows and out flows of the epithet. It mainly regulates, filters, and retains water resources that flow into the downstream lakes of Ruhondo and Bulera. There are some environmental issues which are related to Rugezi marsh and these include; water and Gas supply, agricultural reclamation and drainage by electrogas.
The Rugezi marsh has many flora species and some of these include; cyperus latifolius, papyrus C. papyrus and miscanthidum and many more. It has also got over 43 bird species with in the marsh as well as afro tropical highlands biome. Some of the species found here include; papyrus gonolek, papyrus yellow warbler, Grauer’s swamp-warbler, slender-billed starling, white-collared oliveback, yellow-browed citril, thick-billed seedeater, carruuthers’s cisticola, papyrus canary, baglafecht weaver as well as white-winged scrub-warbler.
About water level and swamp degradation, this marsh was divided into three major sectors including; the northern sector which is mostly degraded by human activity including livestock grazing, as well as agriculture, the central sector which is degraded as a natural vegetation which is typical of highland marshes, and the southern sector where the water levels are high with living and the typical vegetation. There have been many illegal activities which have affected the marsh and these include; illegal hunting, fishing, agriculture as well as trading of chicks of the grey crowned crane.
Rugezi marsh is one of highly densely populated regions in Rwanda and it extends to over 8 administrative sectors including; the Cyero, Kivuye, Gatebe, Ruhunde, Burera, Butaro, Gicumbi, miyove as well as Nyankenke. More so, the majority of the population in this area depend on agriculture and the main crops grown include; maize, beans, irish potatoes. The livestock systems practised here include; zero grazing where animals are kept at home and fed on grass which is planted.