ecosystems hold great potential to serve a diverse set of uses from recreation
and research, to ground water recharge. They
are also important habitats for a large number of residents and migratory
waterbirds. Aquatic ecosystems are
to the various factors such as pollution, siltation, tourism and uncontrolled
growth of weeds. The sustainable
management of these ecosystems is of prime importance from the point of
biodiversity conservation. This
paper will highlight case studies of Chilika lagoon, River Noyyal and Point
vast and dream like Chilika lagoon is the largest brackish water lagoon with
estuarine character that sprawls along the East Coast.
It is an avian grandeur as more than one million migratory waterfowl
winter here. It is one of the hotspots of biodiversity in the country, and some
rare, vulnerable and endangered species listed in the IUCN Red list of
threatened animals inhabit Chilika for at least part of their life cycle.
On account of its rich biodiversity, Chilika was designated as a "Ramsar
Site", i.e. a wetland of International importance in 1981.
The Nalaban island within the Lagoon is notified as a Bird Sanctuary
under Wildlife (Protection) Act. The
Lagoon with its highly productive ecosystem sustains the livelihood of more than
one million fisher folk who live in 132 villages in and around the lagoon.
the past few decades it was observed that the lagoon ecosystem was under threat
with major problems like siltation, choking of the outer channel as well as the
inlet mouth, shifting of the inlet, fall in salinity, fresh water weed
infestation, decline of fishery resources, and was tending towards a fresh water
ecosystem with an overall loss of biodiversity. Both environmental values and resource development
opportunities were threatened by the potential loss of marine influence and
save this unique ecosystem a number of ameliorating measures were taken in the
past three years, which included opening of a new mouth to improve the salinity
and tidal flux of the lagoon. The
lagoon is one of the most important wintering grounds for more than one million
migratory birds. To save this
habitat ecosystem, which caters to 14.8, lakh birds of 85 species as per the
1987 census major restoration activities have been taken place such as
plantation of the Nala grass a vital component of the habitat, which was
destroyed to a great extent due to grazing of buffalo.
Avenues were created for the perching birds with mangrove species.
Creeks were created to improve the habitat and mobility of the boat.
Due to siltation and decrease in salinity the lake is infested with weed.
Hence many measures to reduce weed from the lake were taken which also
included installation of 75 number of biogas plants. The improvement of communication network was also one of the
major activities taken up in the surrounding villages.
There were many other allied activities started which included the
fishery resource development that was depleting due to the anthropogenic
activities and also the upliftment of the economic condition of the thickly
populated peripheral villages. Awareness
Centre is being developed in the Satpada area to promote environmental education
and awareness amongst the surrounding schools and peripheral villages through
Centre for Environment Education. A
Centre for Wetland management was developed to facilitate the studies and
research in the filed of Limnology, marine biology, hydrology, coastal influence
on the lagoon, floristic and faunistic study, weed analysis, ecological and
mathematical modelling, advanced oceanographic and hydrological studies like
sediment transport, wave climate, tidal influence, lake bathymetry, hydrographic
survey, weed dynamics, meteorological studies.
The centre would provide an excellent insitu advanced research facility
in the above field.
After so many measures being taken to address the immediate problems there have been areas, which still needs to be addressed and taken into consideration.
* Catchment treatment involving the community by undertaking soil and water management including massive plantation programmes.
* Environmental education to students in formal education system in and around the lagoon.
* Taking up various appropriate technology and imparting training to the stakeholders to reduce pressure from the lagoon.
* Forming of BIRD PROTECTION SANGHs in the villages involving the local youths.
* Undertaking awareness programmes for the fisher folk against use of Zero-net and poaching of juveniles.
* Education and awareness on Biodiversity of Chilika, especially rare, threatened and endangered species through Wall paintings, Street theatres and village meetings.
* Education to the farmers against the use of chemical fertiliser and pesticide
Need of attitude, practice and creating facilities for garbage management
amongst the peripheral villages and the tourist spots.
Besides its programme in the Chilika, CEE has been working with water ecosystems in Tamil Nadu as well. The CEE Tirupur Field Office is working on creating awareness to save the Noyyal River from Industrial pollution and municipal dumping. On the East Coast of Tamil Nadu, CEE is working in Point Calimere to Campaign for a safe habitat from migratory birds visiting the Point Calimere Sanctuary in Nagapattinam District at the mouth of the River Kavery.