World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) will make an integrated master plan (IMP) of Sukhna Lake wetland conducting field surveys, including avian surveys, Rapid Assessment of Wetland Ecosystem Services (RAWES) assessment, and socio-economic survey along with drafting of different chapters of IMP within 15 months. The survey will be completed in March 2022.
These surveys will be part of the management plan of Sukhna Lake. It was conveyed to the UT Administration by WWF Monday. The virtual meeting was expected to be held last week but it took place on Monday. The final date of WWF representatives’ visit to Sukhna Lake is yet to be decided.
A source said, “It is for the first time when an international agency like WWF will hold an avian (bird) survey at Sukhna Lake. Sukhna Lake has been one of best destinations for migratory birds in the last six decades. After the survey, the UT environment department will gain knowledge about the activities to be allowed in the lake and to what extent. For instance, at present, there is no cap on the boating activities and no cap on the licensed fishing. Once IMP is prepared, these things will become clear.”
Debendra Dalai, director, Paryavaran Bhawan-19, said, “WWF appraised us of their work on Sukhna Lake today. Besides different surveys, WWF will provide overall technical support, review and analysis of all existing knowledge, information and data. Terms of reference for studies to fill the knowledge gaps, designing stakeholder engagements and conducting stakeholders consultations are also among other tasks to be fulfilled by the WWF.”
The capacity-building programme for key stakeholders on wetland conservation will also be designed by WWF. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has assigned to WWF the task for making the management plan of wetlands in Chandigarh and Punjab.
Sukhna wetland is spread over 565 acres. The catchment area of Sukhna wetland, spreading over 10,395 acres as finalised by the Survey of India, includes 2,525 acres of Haryana and 684 acres of Punjab. With this, various activities will be prohibited/regulated/ promoted both in the wetland as well as catchment areas.
A wetland is a place where the land is covered by water, either salt, fresh or somewhere in between. Marshes and ponds, the edge of a lake or ocean, the delta at the mouth of a river, low-lying areas that frequently flood — all of these are wetlands.
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