The USAID Iraq Marshlands Restoration Program (IMRP) supported the rehabilitation of Iraq's Mesopotamian marshland ecosystem, drained by the Saddam Hussein regime in the 1990s, through strategic reflooding, improved management and social development.  The integrated program has five major components: creation of a soil, water, vegetation and wildlife database; hydrological modelling of the Tigris / Euphrates basin; monitoring and pilot restoration projects in agriculture, livestock and fisheries; and social and economic assistance to the displaced Marsh Arabs. The 12-month, US$4m, IMRP planning phase was managed by Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI).  Dr Hoggarth was sub-contracted by MRAG Americas Inc. as Team Leader of the 'Rejuvenating Fish Production' component, working with aquaculture expert John Woiwode of AquaMatrix Inc. and a team of Iraqi government and academic collaborators.  The initial programme design visit in February 2004 revealed the depleted state of the marshlands' most valuable Barbus fish species, and designed a programme of pilot activities to develop fish culture skills, hatchery facilities and fish farms; to re-stock the flooded marshes with priority species; to promote the co-management of local and migrant fish stocks in tribal territories; and to monitor the outcome of the programme and guide future activities.

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