The Keppu Ela and Koppa Ela canals were built during the Dutch colonial period. Although initially designed for shipping use, the canals also provide irrigation to nearby paddy fields and play an integral role in flood prevention schemes both locally and for upstream towns. As the closest wetland to Galle, the canals are also important for local bird life and have an undervalued tourist potential. Following the 2004 tsunami, the District Secretary of Galle approached us and requested a programme to resurrect the integrity of the two canals. A preliminary study found the canals suffered from a range of other environmental problems such as deforestation and encroachment.