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Conserving the Mangroves

  • Category
    Environment
  • Published
    18th Jun, 2020

To conserve mangroves, GMR Energy has been directed to stop dredging in mudflats off Kakinada coast in Andhra Pradesh to protect the mangroves.

Context

To conserve mangroves, GMR Energy has been directed to stop dredging in mudflats off Kakinada coast in Andhra Pradesh to protect the mangroves.

About

  • The company was directed by the State Forest Department to remove a bund close to the mudflat adjacent to the company’s 220 MW barge-mounted power plant., comes in the backdrop of some environmentalists and former top bureaucrats flagging off environment concerns.
  • The directive to remove the bund is aimed at protecting the mangrooves and the flora and fauna in the region.
  • Not only is the mudflat under threat, there is potential for mangrove cover being affected and possibly lead to destruction of the prime habitat of birds, especially-
    • endangered Great knots (Calidris tenuirostris)
  • Indian skimmers (Rynchops albiocollis), which are listed as a vulnerable species.

Mudflats

  • Mudflats refer to land near a water body that is regularly flooded by tides and is usually barren (without any vegetation).
  • Also known as tidal flats, mudflats are formed upon the deposition of mud by tides or rivers.
  • This coastal landform usually occurs in sheltered areas of the coast like bays, coves, lagoons, estuaries, etc. Since most of the sedimented area of a mudflat is within the intertidal zone, the mudflat experiences submersion under water and exposure twice daily.
  • Mudflats protect the inland landforms from erosion. They act as a barrier to waves from eroding land in the interior.

What is dredging?

  • Dredging is the removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of lakes, rivers, harbors, and other water bodies.
  • It is a routine necessity in waterways around the world because sedimentation—the natural process of sand and silt washing downstream—gradually fills channels and harbors.
  • It is also performed to reduce the exposure of fish, wildlife, and people to contaminants and to prevent the spread of contaminants to other areas of the water body.
  • Removing large parts of the seabed and dumping it elsewhere can have a major impact on the ecosystem, particularly sensitive areas such as coral reefs and fish nurseries.
  • Dredging impacts marine organisms negatively through entrainment, habitat degradation, noise, remobilization of contaminants, sedimentation, and increases in suspended sediment concentrations.

The threatened species

    • The Great Knot (Calidris tenuirostris)
  • The Great Knot is a medium-sized shorebird with a straight, slender bill of medium length and a heavily streaked head and neck.
  • It is an international migratory wading bird that travels vast distances between the northern hemisphere breeding grounds and southern hemisphere summer feeding grounds around the coastal fringe of Australia (including Victoria) where it frequents coastal wetlands and sand flats.
  • Family: The great knot (Calidris tenuirostris) belongs to the family of sandpipers and knots, the Scolopacidae.
  • IUCN Red List Category: Endangered
    • Indian skimmers (Rynchops albiocollis)
  • The Indian skimmer grows to a length of 40-43 cm. It has black upper parts, white forehead, collar and lower parts, long, thick, deep orange bill with a yellow tip and longer lower mandible. In flight, it has a white trailing-edge to wing and a short forked tail with blackish central feathers. 
  • More widespread in winter, the Indian skimmer is found in the coastal estuaries of western and eastern India.
  • It occurs primarily on larger, sandy, lowland rivers, around lakes and adjacent marshes and, in the non-breeding season, in estuaries and coasts.
  • Family: The Indian skimmer is one of the three species that belong to the skimmer genus Rynchops in the family Laridae.
  • IUCN Red List Category: Vulnerable
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