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我們家附近有一條溪
叫做鱉溪
因為之前有非常多的鱉
我們常常
在鱉溪玩水打水漂.....
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Don’t just see fun, we need to see why – Taitung Chishang Water Canal Conservancy Park

  The Beinan River is located in the southeast of Taiwan, administered by the central government. It’s the largest river within Taitung County, with a length of 84km, it flows through towns and townships before entering the Pacific Ocean. It is the primary irrigation source of the Taitung Plain. And the “Beinan Canal” was built in 1898 during the Japanese rule. It led the river from Beinan River to promote agriculture in this area, being the largest water conservation engineering project in Taitung.

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  “Taitung Chishang Canal Water Conservation Park (Fish Ladder Ecology Park)” consists of the inlet of the canal, water conveyance, sand basin facilities, wooden plankway, canal green corridor, fish ladder, water wheel, and bikeway (Photo by Huang, Tsung-Hsien,2016) 

  Many people may not know that many of the renowned scenic spots, such as Takeshi Kaneshiro tree, Mr. Brown Avenue, Road to Heaven, Dapo lake, and fields in mosaic patterns in Chishang are connected by the irrigation system called Chishang Canal. Chishang Canal is the earliest canal in Chishang Township. Since its digging in 1878, it has been repaired and maintained many times. Finally, in 2005, after the completion of planting vegetation and beautification of the Water Conservation Park Canal Road, the garden landscape, fish ladder, fish ladder classroom, wooden plankway, water wheel, and bikeway, it was connected with the sand basin built earlier, and about 10 major and minor canal paths to constitute a natural water conservation and natural landscape. Irrigating the area of about 1,015 hectares, it occupies about 60% of Chishang’s arable farming land. The Chishang rice grown here is the most famous produce of Taitung. Many visitors come here to see how this high-quality rice is grown. In addition to the natural environment, the geographical location is also a contributing factor. Chishang Township is located at the watershed of Xiuguluan River and Beinan River. The water source coming from the upper-stream of Beinan River is rich in organic substances and minerals. It helps create the culture of Chishang rice nowadays. 

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  The fish ladder was designed to facilitate people fetching water. And dams and check dams built to regulate rivers were artificial structures constructed across the river that blocked the path for migratory fishes to return home in rivers. In about 2000, the idea of conserving the river ecology began to sprout in Taiwan. Ecologists began to build “ecology corridors” in rivers to provide spaces for activities of living things. A fish ladder was one of these facilities. To protect the river ecology, the administration established the “Taitung Chishang Fish Ladder Ecology Scenic Area.” And in 2002, it invited Professor Tseng, Ching-Hsien of National Tsinghua University and Professor Shunroku Nakamura, a Japanese fish ladder design expert, to plan and design a fish ladder in the old inlet of Chishang Canal irrigation water fetching engineering plan. They improved the traditional fish ladder into an Ice-Harbor type and Vertical-slot type fish ladder combination. In the next year, the Council of Agricultural Affairs entrusted the Agricultural Engineering Research Center to conduct a planning and research project on building a new embankment and inlet water conveyance ecology construction method. At the same time, a fish ladder classroom was established by the old inlet for the observation of migratory fishes’ ecology.

  After years of effort, the fish ladder functioned properly as expected. In the river, we can see fishes like Onychostoma alticorpus, Spinibarbus hollandi, Sicyopterus japonicus, and more. More importantly, Chishang Fish Ladder Observation Room is the third of this kind in the world, and the first in Taiwan that allows people to watch migratory fishes swim upstream from a close distance along the fish ladder. It is a nice scenic resort worth visiting to observe the conditions of ecological protection.

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Fish ladder design in Chishang Water Conservation Park (Photo by Huang, Tsung-Hsien,2016)

  No matter whether it is a canal that helps cultivate quality rice or the water-fetching engineering, as Taiwanese, water is closely related to people’s daily life. When you visit Taitung next time, in addition to visiting the renowned scenic spots, don’t forget the precious water environment. It is recommended to climb up the observation deck of the Water Conservation Park to overlook Beinan Mountain and the green rice fields. You are also suggested to experience Lao Tze’s words “The best of people are like water. Water benefits all things and does not compete with them.” We should learn how to co-exist with the environment harmoniously and peacefully, and to discover the alternative magnificence of Chishang Township.


About the author
Author: Huang, Tsung-Hsien
Current position: Specialist, Latin America and Caribbean Sea Section, Technical Cooperation Department, International Cooperation and Development Fund
Education: MS, Department of Hydraulic and Ocean Engineering, National Cheng Kung University
Specialty: water conservancy, hydraulic suspension sand drainage, and ecological travel

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