The Ecosystem Health Report Card of Chilika has found many takers. Lake managers from across the country have sought to know if it can be replicated.
Scientists from Jammu and Kashmir have expressed interest to know if quantitative assessment model can be used for Dal Lake. Similarly, the Kerala Government has evinced interest if a real-time health report card can be prepared for wetlands of the southern State.
Indian States apart, the Philippines Government had recently asked scientists of Chilika Development Authority (CDA) to hold a dissemination meet at Manila for the managers of Laguna de Bay so as to learn from the new assessment model.
The CDA in collaboration with National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Chennai and University of Maryland, USA had jointly developed the Ecosystem Health Report Card which is a simple way of scientific communication targeted at a wider audience. The first report was out in November.
The quantitative assessment of the lagoon’s health is based on water clarity, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll, total catch, commercial fish species diversity, bird count and richness, dolphin abundance, benthic fauna and phytoplankton diversity. Score is given to each indicator and a grade drawn up. The health of the system is codified in colour integrating the physio-chemical and biological property of the water and sediment so that even lay person can understand it.
Earlier, Chilika Development Authority had mounted sensors on data buoys at 10 strategic locations to collect data for the report card. These buoys provide data on a real time basis at 15 minutes interval.
In November when the first report card was out, Chilika scored ‘B’ which was considered excellent given the anthropogenic pressure on the wetland.
“The eco-system health system card is the first ever attempt in a tropical lake in Asia and there has been a great deal of interest shown by different wetland managers for adoption of the methodology developed by the CDA,” Chief Executive of CDA Ajit Patnaik said.
A team of experts from NCSCM, Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) apart from wetland mangers from J&K to Kerala will take part in a meet to be organised by CDA to explore the possibilities of its replication in their respective wetland ecosystems.