Installation of Singapore’s Largest Purpose-Built Reef Structures at Sisters’ Islands Marine Park to Enhance Marine Biodiversity

Project garners support from 11 donor companies from JTC’s estates and developments

JTC and the National Parks Board (NParks), along with Friends of Marine Park community, donor companies, industry guests and local marine research and interest groups, witnessed the installation of Singapore’s largest purpose-built reef structures in the waters off Small Sister’s Island, within the Sisters’ Islands Marine Park this morning. The event was graced by Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin.

First announced in May this year, the project, a collaboration between JTC and NParks, has since garnered the support of 11 donor companies from JTC’s estates and developments with contributions made towards the “Grow-a-Reef Garden” initiative under the Garden City Fund, NParks’ registered charity and an Institution of Public Character.

The project is expected to contribute some 1,000m2 of additional reef substrate to the Marine Park by 2030, supporting existing habitat enhancement and reef restoration efforts to conserve marine biodiversity.

Partnering Industries for Climate Action

Under its Industry for Sustainability programme, JTC reached out to companies across various industries to garner their support for the project. The programme aims to partner industry and community to increase awareness and participation in efforts towards sustainable climate action.

JTC has identified three initiatives that organisations and communities can participate in through the Garden City Fund. They can contribute to the “Grow-a-Reef Garden” initiative, “Plant-a-Tree” programme, or donate to the Seed Bank programme by the Singapore Botanic Gardens. These efforts will help to enhance greenery and conserve biodiversity in Singapore.

For the “Grow-a-Reef Garden” initiative, JTC has garnered the support of 11 companies with contributions ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 per company. The companies include Chang Chun Dairen, Denka, ExxonMobil, GSK, Keppel Group, Mitsui, Oiltanking Asia, Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore, Siltronic, Sumimoto Chemicals and Vopak Terminals.

Enhancing Singapore’s Marine Biodiversity

As Singapore’s largest reef project, the purpose-built reef structures are designed to contribute some 1,000m2 of additional reef substrate to the Marine Park by 2030. A total of eight structures, including the one installed today, will be installed by the end of 2018 to form the JTC-NParks Reef Garden. JTC contributed its engineering expertise through the design, construction and installation of the reef structures. The structures, pre-fabricated offsite, are designed to sit on the seabed without piling or major foundation works that would otherwise disturb the underwater environment. The structures replicate a reef slope by occupying the entire water column from sub-surface to the seafloor, and will provide numerous and diverse habitat niches for a wide variety of marine life.

The reef structures will provide new substrate for the attachment and growth of coral. In addition, the spaces created within the matrix of the reef structures will provide suitable areas for the recruitment of various fish species. The graded stone pitching on the structure surface, created using rocks recycled from JTC’s projects such as Jurong Rock Caverns, increases the surface texture complexity for corals or encrusting organisms.

The project will complement NParks’ ongoing reef enhancement efforts and help expand the habitat restoration and enhancement programme in both scope and scale. For example, to safeguard hard coral species found in Singapore waters, NParks’ in situ coral nursery will be established within the JTC-NParks Reef Garden. The nursery will play an important role in the conservation of coral species, so that locally rare corals that may be threatened by, for example, coral bleaching, can be moved to a controlled environment to ensure their survival.

At the same time, the reef structures will provide opportunities for various research initiatives to be implemented and serve as test beds for new technologies to study coral reef resilience. This will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of Singapore’s marine habitats and the biodiversity they support. NParks will continue to work with various stakeholders to ensure that the research is coordinated and relevant.