Beau Champ Basin – Long Term Project
This area of Haiti used to be one of the richest and fertile farming areas in the country. However, the land in the Beau Champ basin was lost for farming due to lack of maintenance of its drainage canals resulting in the soil becoming too salty for farming.
The first phase in reclaiming this land for farming was to re-establishing a working canal system to remove salty ground water. Both machinery and people were used to establish new drainage canals and to clean out existing ones.
The island of Haiti gets hit hard by tropical storms and hurricanes every year. The main road through the Beau Champ basin is critical for transportation in the area. Withstanding storm damage meant building storm proof culverts wherever it crossed a canal. This keeps the road open after a storm and keeps the canals working.
Draining the basin wasn’t enough to bring the soil back for farming. In the spring and other times when there’s too much rainfall, the excess water washes sediment from the mountains into the sea.
In caring for the whole watershed, phase two of this project cut several strategically placed channels in the surrounding mountains causing the excess runoff to be channeled into the basin. In doing so, the fresh water draining from the mountains deposits sediment on the land instead of the sea. Over the course of about 10 years, it is expected that most of the basin will come back online for farming.