Sectoral Convergence for Integrated Wetlands Management in Himachal Pradesh

21 Jul, 2022

The Indo-German development cooperation project “Wetlands Management for Biodiversity and Climate Protection” has developed draft Integrated Management Plans (IMP) for two Ramsar sites in Himachal Pradesh – Pong Dam and Renuka wetlands. These plans are supported by assessments on hydrology, ecosystem services and livelihoods, as well as an analysis of climate risk on key wetlands features, keystone species and ecosystem services. The IMPs are in line with the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA), a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on wetlands.

Community-level stakeholder consultation with fishing community at Nagrota Surian, Pong ©GIZ/CEDAR

Dialogues with all stakeholders are vital to formulate a management response and subsequently identify areas for joint actions to achieve wise use of wetlands. This is to be achieved through stakeholder consultations at community, district and state level prior to finalising the IMPs. At the district level, two introductory stakeholder meetings were held under the chairpersonship of the Deputy Commissioners of Kangra and Sirmaur with participation of key line departments such as Forest (Wildlife), Tourism, Fisheries, State Pollution Control Board, Rural Development and Jal Shakti Vibhag (JSV) on 18 and 22 July, respectively.

Dr Nipun Jindal IAS, Deputy Commissioner Kangra, emphasised the need for creating a District Wetland Committee as a supporting institutional structure at the district level for cross-sectoral wetland management. He added that tourism and water sports at Pong should be developed such that it does not affect breeding grounds of birds and fishes. Alongside conserving biodiversity, the plan would also take meaningful steps towards improving livelihood of the local people.

Mr Rahul Rohane, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Hamirpur, provided insights on containment of the Avian Flu outbreaks at Pong in coordination with experts and departments such as Animal Husbandry. Monitoring system to control such outbreaks are being included in the plan. The IMP for Pong Dam Lake Ramsar Site focuses on improving the habitats for migratory waterbirds, and sustaining ecosystem services such as water supply, hydropower, buffer against climatic extremes such as flash floods and support wetland-dependent livelihoods such as fisheries and tourism in a sustainable manner.

Meeting with Deputy Commissioners Sirmaur and key district-level line departments ©GIZ/Kunal Bharat

Mr Ram Kumar Gautam IAS, Deputy Commissioner Sirmaur, highlighted the cultural and religious significance of Renuka ji Lake as well as its importance for Sirmaur district. The discussion focussed on the issues like soil erosion, water quality, sewage treatment and solid waste management in the vicinity of Renuka lake and possibilities of convergence between line departments. He stressed that construction and expansion of roads need to be monitored closely so that silt does not reach the lake. Mr N. Ravishankar, Deputy Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Shimla, and Mr Vishal Jaswal, Superintending Engineer JSV Circle Nahan, discussed establishing regular water quality monitoring using easy to use DO (Dissolved Oxygen) kits available with Jal Shakti Vibhag.

The IMP for Renuka Ramsar Site aims to address high soil erosion from parts of the catchment and measures to improve spring flow and water quality of Renuka lake. It also prepares against potential threats of forest fires during summer and flash floods during monsoon, which are projected to increase in future due to climate change.

Cross-sectoral approach involving multiple stakeholders and inter-departmental convergence at district level would play a key role in monitoring wetland health and implementing integrated wetland management plans. These meetings will be followed by multi-stakeholder consultations at district level to incorporate suggestions into the final wetland IMPs. In addition, stakeholder consultations are also being held with local communities and stakeholder, and all these would inform the state level consultation to be held in Shimla.

Community-level stakeholder consultation at Taran village near Renuka lake ©GIZ/People’s Science Institute


About the project

The Wetlands Management for Biodiversity and Climate Protection project aims to strengthen the institutional framework and capacities for an ecosystem-based integrated management of wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites) in India. Four Ramsar sites have been selected as pilot sites under the project: Pong Dam and Renuka Lake in Himachal Pradesh, Bhitarkanika Mangroves in Odisha, and the Point Calimere Wildlife and Bird Sanctuary in Tamil Nadu. The project is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) in partnership with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in close cooperation with the National Plan for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA). This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag. Read More

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