Manual maintenance of watercourses

Replacing mechanical maintenance of watercourses with manual maintenance which provides many ecological and social benefits


← back to informations
MQ Martinique
Web Unknown


About the project Edit

This test project is conducted by the Association CAP Environnement sur le cours d’eau (an environmental association on watercourses) in Pagerie, Martinique. Invasive exotic species completely colonized this river. The current rate of the species’ propagation changed some ecosystems and replaced indigenous species.

Destruction of native species is already an ecological problem in itself. To this, add the fact that colonizing species have a peculiarity of blocking water flow by obstructing the riverbed. This results in significant erosion of the banks during heavy rains. Erosion can cause loss of aquatic habitat and spawning beds, diminish biodiversity and cause public safety problems.

The method currently being used to deal with this problem consists of mechanically clearing the riverbed with a kind of hydraulic excavator. The project proposes returning to manual methods to do so.

The interest is three-fold:

1) We can then start with the selective removal of the species and help endemic species reappear.

2) Mechanical clearing is harmful because it disperses sediment to the bottom of the river. This makes the water cloudy and, as it flows to the sea, destroys certain species like coral that cannot be grown in clear water. Furthermore, various pollutants (essentially agricultural) is rejected en masse into the sea, doing considerable harm to the marine ecosystems.

3) This process uses more manual labour which is a significant social benefit in a territory such as Martinique which has a high unemployment rate.


In what ways is this project unique and creative? Edit

The project is creative because the proposed method is not used at all and is full of benefits. One of the reasons is that this kind of innovation is considered negative because it recommends returning to traditional ways.

It is a low technology methodological innovation (or process).

It is also a social or inclusive innovation because it targets the collective interest. This project is being implemented within an integration workshop that aims to reintegrate through an activity for a public in difficulty and far from employment. Therefore, the objective is both environmental and social.

What is the social value of this project? Edit

The project’s social value is two-fold.

On one hand, the method used to create jobs (by substituting a manual process with a mechanical one), uses a small workforce.

On the other hand, the test project is conducted within an integration workshop that aims to reintegrate through the activity of a public in difficulty and far from employment.

There is, however, an added ecological value – the fact that the method contributes to conserving the environment, notably in terms of the predominant technique which is destructive.

What is the potential of this project to expand and develop? Edit

This initiative demonstrates interest in this gentle method – that usage could expand to other watercourse islands or other territories.

What was the triggering factor of this project? Edit

The triggering factor is validating the method’s long-term benefits. Feedback over an extended period is necessary.

What is the business model of this project? Edit

The business model is based on the need to maintain watercourses. It is a responsibility of the public authorities (in those instances, in France, of the state). Consequently, the success of this process is through the public authorities’ realization of their interest, not in terms of competitiveness, but in terms of saving the environment and creating jobs.


Project Community

0 fans and 0 members

Join the team

You find this project inspiring ?



This project has no known partners.