Wetlands

Asthamudi (depth 6.4 m)

Located in the Kollam (formerly Quilon) District of Kerala, it was designated Ramsar Wetland on 19th August, 2002. It is the most visited backwater and lake in the state. It possesses a unique wetland ecosystem and a large palm shaped (octopus shaped) water body. It is the second largest water body in Kerala after Vembnad. Asthamudi means 'eight coned' in the local Malyalam language. Increase in anthropogenic pressure and oil spills from thousands of fifishing boats and from industries in the surrounding areas are increasingly deteriorating the ecosystems of the lake.

Kallada River is a major river discharging into the Asthamudi Lake. There are islands in the lake. Munroe Island is a cluster of 8 tiny islands in Asthamudi Lake. Asthamudi has 43 species of marshy and mangrove associates, including endangered species of Syzgium travancoricum. There are 57 species of birds, of which 6 are migratory and 51 resident species. The major threat s to the endangered species are reportedly draining of the wetlands and conversion into paddy fields.

Bhitarkanika Wetland and Mangroves (1979)

Spreading over 650 km2, Bhitarkanika is the second largest mangrove in India and an important wetland of Odisha. This wetland is the habitat of India's largest population of saltwater crocodiles. The Gahirmatha Beach separates the Bhitarkanika mangroves from the Bay of Bengal. It is the world's most important nesting beach for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. The largest saltwater Turtle (7.0 m) was found in the Bhitarkanika Wetland.

Located at the Dhamra River, Olive Ridley Turtles Gahirmatha coast in Kendrapara District, it is the largest nesting beach of the world for Olive Turtles which attracts large number of tourists from all over the world. On a clear moonlight, during the nesting season, thousands of turtles crawl out of the sea, select a suitable site, dig a hole in the sand with their ppers, lay nearly 120 eggs each, cover and compact the holes with their own body, sweep out all traces of their visit and crawl back to sea'all within 45 minutes. Turtles even from the Pacific Ocean visit Gahirmatha Beach to lay eggs.

Bhoj Wetland

Located in the city of Bhopal, Bhoj Wetland consists of two lakes. The names of these lakes are (i) Bhojtal and (ii) Lower lake. The lakes are home to a diverse flora and fauna including many water-birds. Bhoj Wetland has been declared a wetland of international importance under the International Ramsar Convention.

Depor Bil/Deepor Beel (2002)

Located to the south-west of Guwahati in Kamrup District of Assam, it is a freshwater lake, the largest lake in Assam. It covers about 4014 km2 and has depth of about 4 meters. The Basistha and Kalmani rivers and the monsoon run floor are the main sources of water to the lake. It acts as a natural storm-water reservoir during the monsoon season for the city of Guwahati. Aquatic vegetation like water lyacinth, aquatic grasses, water lilies and floating vegetation are found during the summer season. In the winter season, aquatic and semi-aquatic species of vegetation are found. Migratory birds, residential water birds and terrestrial birds are common in paddy field areas. Moreover around the Bil, common oak, aquarium plants, medicinal plants and orchid of commercial value are found. Among the large number of migratory water birds, the Siberian Crane is the most important. The people living around the Bil do fifishing, collect fodder for domestic cattle, and use it for transportation. Proliferation of human settlements, use of chemical fertilizers in rice fields, construction of roads, brick kilns, and industries around the Bil/Beel are the main pollutants.

Harike Wetland (1990)

Located in the Tarn Taran District of Punjab, Harike Lake is the largest wetland in northern India. The lake and the wetland were formed by constructing the headworks across the Sutlej River in 1953. The headworks is located downstream of the confluence of the Beas and Sutlej rivers. It was designated wetland under the Ramsar Convention in 1990.

The Harike man-made, riverine, lacustrine wetland spreads into the three districts of Amritsar, Firozpur and Kapurthala in Punjab and covers an area of 4100 hectares. The main species of the wetland include several birds, turtles, snakes, amphibians, fifishes and invertebrates. About 200 species of birds visit the wetland during winter season of which some of the well known species are the cotton pygmy goose, stuffed duck, yellow-crowned woodpecker, yellow-eyed pegion, water-cock, brown headed gull, Indian skimmer, white-rumped vultures, Eurasian tree sparrow, hawk, and diving- duck. Lotus, and tape grass are the main vegetation in the wetland.

On Feb 2, 2003, the World Wetland was celebrated at Harike with the watchword 'No-wetland-No water' which also marked the International Year of Freshwater'.

Kanjli Wetland (2002)

Located in the Kapurthala District of Punjab, it is a man made wetland, constructed in 1870 by constructing the Headworks across the perennial Bien River, a tributary of the Beas River. It was recognized internationally by the Ramsar Convention in 2002 and was given the designation as the wetland of International importance. There are 17 species of sh. tortoise and numerous birds in the wetland. Anthropogenic pressure and the consequent encroachment are the main problems of the wetland. Illegal and indiscriminate fishing are causing disturbance to bird life.

Loktak Lake

Famous for Phumdis (mass of vegetation and soil-islands), Loktak is the largest freshwater lake in North-East India. Keibul Lamjao, the only floating national park in the world floats over it drainage patter, typically of hilly terrain, is sub-dendric, sub-parallel, and sub-radial, which is dictated by the lithology and structure of the area. The main fauna of the wet land includes the endangered species deer, brow-antlered-deer, Indian python, sambar, barking deer, monkey, hoolock, macaque and golden cat. Deforestation, discharge of domestic sewage and fishing cultivation in the surrounding areas are the main problems of this wetland.

Renuka Lake

Located in the Sirmaur District of Himachal Pradesh, this lake is 672 m above the sea level. With a circumference of over 3214 m, it is the largest lake in Himachal Pradesh. The wet and has great diversity in fauna and flora. The lake is however, threatened by continuously shrinking size. The rate of erosion has gone up in the surrounding areas. Consequently, there is more deposition of silt at the bottom of the lake. Unfortunately, the waste of construction material is also dumped into the lake.

Ropar (Rupnagar) Wetland

Located in the foothills of the Shiwalik, it is a man made freshwater riverine and lacustrine wetland. The average depth of the wetland is about 0.5 m, while the maximum depth is 6 m. A large species of fish are found in the wetland, out of which Rohu, Dhai, Gid, al, Mori, Puthi, Mali Dolla (snake headed fish), and Curd are important. Gour species of frogs have been noted. Two species of tortoise, five species of lizards, several species of snakes including threatened python or Ajgar are found in the wetland. Several species of birds have been recorded including 49 local birds, 11 migratory birds, 3 rare birds and 54 common birds.

The wetland is a popular tourist attraction for bird-watching and boating. A tourist complex called the 'Pinccasia' is located within the wetland boundary, which is run by the Punjab Tourism Development Corporation.

Rudrasagar (2007)

Situated at a distance of about 52 km from Agartala- the capital of Tripura state and located in Sipahijala District of Tripura, Rudrasagar covers an area of 2.4 k2. Rudrasagar is a natural sedimentation reservoir which receives flow from three perennial rivers namely, Noacherra, Durlavnarayn Cherra and Kemtali Cherra.

Rudrasagar is a potential important bird area which attracts a large number of waterfowls in winter. Among the rare species recorded are endangered Baer's Pochar and near threatened Ferruginous Duck. The lake has faced the problem of pollution from anthropogenic factors, dumping of garbage, solid and liquid, eutrophication, use of chemical fertilizer, deforestation and lack of awareness.

Sambhar Lake

Sambhar is the largest inland salt lake of India. Surrounded by the Sambhar Lake Town, it is located 96 km north-west of the city of Jaipur. The lake is an extensive saline wetland with water depth uctuating from a few (as 60 cm) during dry season to about 3 meters after the Monsoon season. Thelliptical in shape, it covers an area of about 230 square kilometer. The Sambhar Lake produces 196,000 tonnes of clean salt every year, which is about 9 per cent of India's salt production. Salt is produced by evaporation of brine and is mostly managed by Sambhar Salt, a joint venture of Hindustan Salts Ltd.

The Sambhar has been designated as a Ramsar site as it is the area for tens of thousands of flamingo and other birds that migrate from Siberia. The specialized algae growing in the lake provides striking water colour and supports the ecology that, in turn, sustains the migrating fowls. There are other wildlife in the nearby forests, where Nilgai move freely along with deer and foxes.

Tsomori Wetland (2002)

Located at an altitude of 4522 m above the sea level in Ladakh, Tsomoriri is a remnant lake which has been designated as a wetland under Ramsar Convention. The lake is fed by springs and snow melt from neighbouring mountains. The maximum depth of the lake is 105 meters. It is brackish lake, oligotrophic in nature, and its waters are alkaline. Accessibility to the lake is largely limited to summer season, though Karzok village on the north-west shore and military facilities on the eastern shore have year-round habitation.

The lake is ringed by hills rising over 6000 m. The nomadic tribe 'Changpas' (pastoral community) of yak, sheep, goat and others are engaged in trade and work on carvanan in Ladakh region. Tibetan gazelle, antelope, lynx, yak are the main animals. There are 34 species of birds including 14 species of water birds in which the black-necked cranes (endangered), and bar-headed geese.

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