Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Return to Binjai Stream (18 Jun 09)

After almost a year of absence, I have returned to this pristine and quiet piece of natural real estate to do some impromptu testing of the water quality. (The serenity was briefly disrupted by some grass cutters contracted to maintain the stream but of greater disturbance was the large numbers of half eaten durians left by durian hunters during this durian season.)

A brief background... you won't find "Binjai Stream" in any map or directory. Most maps won't even show that this stream exists even though Nparks has indicated this nameless stream on its signboard. And no, the name doesn't come from me. I got it from my good pal, Allen of Team Spreo who first brought me here. "Binjai" comes from the entrance to the stream near Binjai Park around Bukit Timah area.

Then why isn't Binjai Stream my favourite haunt for water quality monitoring? (See here for my favourite haunt.) To those who want to check out the stream, you have to overcome a major problem - landslides are very common along the stream, especially upstream of the "bridge". Together with the landslides, you have fallen trees and vegetation, forming an inpenetrable mess. (To those rambos out there who fantasise about hacking through with machetes, good luck...)

Actually, Binjai Stream was one of my monitoring sites in 2008. Yet, despite making at least 9 trips there (some by my students), it was never clear from beginning to end. You can imagine my hearty grin when I made my first trip here in 2009 and found it to be... CLEAR! (All right, I admit there were some fallen trees, vegetation and mud but these were minor inconveniences.) My group was indeed very lucky. Expectedly, this site has since been dropped from my monitoring list.

Here are some more interesting tidbits about Binjai Stream from my correspondence with Joseph Lai:
  1. The source of Binjai Stream came all the way from Bukit Timah Nature Reserve (BTNR) up the side of Cave Path.
  2. The trickle from Cave Path flows through a brick encasement to Senapang before reaching the upstream of Binjai Stream. There used to be a community washing point that resembled a square well with steps leading down to it.
You may also check out Serene's blog for an alternative account of the stream.

Figures (L-R, T-B): Fallen tree trunk - one of the easily passable ones;
We came across this odd patch of low lying vegetation when the rest of the stream is dominated by trees and shrubs;
The "Bridge" - downstream is usually clear while its upstream is usually NOT;
Clear waters running over a sandy bed; the true gems of the stream - a couple of mini waterfalls I have yet to see anywhere else in Singapore;
"end point" of Binjai Stream - according to Joseph, these steep cascading drains serve both the surface drains and overflow from the covered Murnane Reservoir nearby.

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