800-ha Nandur Madhyameshwar declared state’s first Ramsar site

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Published on Jan 25, 2020 12:31 AM IST
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By Badri Chatterjee, Mumbai

Spread across 800.96 hectares (ha), the Nandur Madhyameshwar in Niphad tehsil, Nashik, has been declared as Maharashtra’s first Ramsar site on Friday, the Union environment ministry said.

Ramsar sites are wetland areas of international significance under the Ramsar Convention, 1971, an international treaty for the conservation, sustainable utilisation of wetlands, and recognising the fundamental ecological functions of wetlands.

Another 366-ha wetland site, Lonar Crater Lake in Buldhana is also likely to be declared a Ramsar site within a month. The information was shared by the Ramsar Convention, Switzerland with the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC).

Along with Nandur, six wetland sites from Uttar Pradesh, and three others from Punjab have been declared as Ramsar sites. India now has 37 Ramsar sites across 18 states.

“An official communication has been made to us and we can confirm that Nandur Madhyameshwar is now Maharashtra’s first Ramsar site,” said Manju Pandey, joint secretary, MoEFCC. “Lonar will soon be declared as a Ramsar site as the final documentation process is underway.”

There are over 230 bird species recorded from the area with nearly 80 migratory bird species. Nearly 24 species of fish have been recorded in the reservoir along with otters, palm civet, fishing cat, jackals, mongoose, wolves, and many species of snakes.

Ritesh Kumar, director, Wetlands International (South Asia) said, “The value of this wetland is now recognised as contributing to global biodiversity. The state government would need to maintain this site according to international standards of management and ensure biodiversity is preserved in the long term. There needs to be more commitment.”

The wetland was declared as a Ramsar site under the criteria 2 (having globally significant species), 3 (maintaining biogeographic diversity and supporting plants and animals at the critical stage), 7 (supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish), and 8 (an important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/or migration path on which fish stocks depend).

Notified as a wildlife sanctuary and protected area in 1986, Nandur Madhyameshwar was first proposed as a wetland site in August 2012. N Vasudevan, the additional principal chief conservator of forest (research, education and training), the state forest department said, “Having the state’s first Ramsar site was long overdue. There are many more wetlands that need to be given the same international significance, that form, critical bird habitats under the Central Asian Flyway.”

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