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Chairman: Dr. Rakesh Kumar & Dr. S. Balasubramanyam

Status of Chilka Lagoon: A Comparative View of Pre and Post Mouth Opening Conditions

Mohanty P.K., Panda U.S., Pal S.R. and Jayaraman G.

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The Chilka Lagoon (N 190 28-190 54; E 850 06-850 35) on the east coast of India in the Orissa state is the largest brackish water lagoon in India and is a hot spot of biodiversity. The lagoon is undergoing very rapid changes over a short period of time. The lagoon dynamics and the hydrological processes in Chilka, a shallow partly closed lagoon experiencing high wind waves, are dependent on fresh water input, evaporation, mixing and circulation processes, which decide the rate and scale of energy dissipation. These processes undergo large seasonal and interannual variability in Chilka lagoon and thus significantly impact sediment and pollutant transport, distribution of nutrients in water and sediments and the productivity of the aquatic system. However, fast decline in fish yield and productivity of the lagoon associated with loss of biodiversity are the major threats to the lagoon ecosystem and are mostly attributed to the shrinkage in the water area of the lagoon, decrease in salinity and depth and abundant growth of weeds.

 Realising the above said problems of Chilka lagoon, the Government of Orissa through Chilka Development authority opened a new mouth on 23 September 2000 for sustainable management of the lagoon ecosystem. Therefore, the present study aims at examining the hydrographic characteristics, vegetation coverage, water quality and circulation of Chilka lagoon during pre and post mouth opening conditions through remote sensing and concomitant field observations. The study further aims at continuous monitoring the lagoon ecosystem in the changing environment and to suggest appropriate measures for restoration and sustainable management of the lagoon ecosystem.

Address: Department of Marine Sciences, 
Berhampur University, Berhampur- 760 007, India.
Center for Atmospheric Sciences, IIT, 
Delhi, India. Phone: 0680 254332
E-mail: pratap_mohanty@yahoo.com

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