The Taninim Stream Nature Reserve, on the northern coastal plain, contains two main focal points: a sparkling stream the last remnant of the region’s coastal waterways and a dam from the Late Roman-Byzantine periods that created an approximately 6,000-dunam (1,500-acre) lake. The stream was named Taninim Hebrew for crocodiles because these reptiles inhabited the nearby Kebara swamps until the beginning of the 20th century. The INPA has recently opened the Taninim Stream to the public with the assistance of the Carmel Drainage Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Environmental Protection Ministry.
The Taninim Stream is considered the last of Israel’s clean coastal streams. Although the sources of the stream are saline, they still support many species of flora and fauna. The yellow water lily, which floats on the water`s surface, is a prominent and beautiful adornment; fish include gray mullet, tilapia and catfish. The Caspian turtle is at home in the reserve, along with a variety of birds.
The region’s ancient inhabitants built the dam to raise by three meters the level of the Taninim Stream, which flows at three meters above sea level, so it could be channeled to Caesarea. Another dam, about two kilometers north of the reserve, blocks off the valley from the north. A lake was formed in the Kebara Valley between the dams and Mount Carmel, which became the starting point for Caesarea`s Low Aqueduct. The abundance of water led to the construction of water-operated flour mills in the Byzantine and Ottoman periods. A Byzantine-era vertical paddlewheel was found there of a type otherwise known in this country only from the Crusader period.
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