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Nadur Madhameshwar of Maharashtra

This article is a quick overview of Nadur Madhameshwar of Maharashtra. It has comprehensive details about the place, such as its history, formation, flora, fauna, topography, the present problems faced by the area, and some important steps to resolve them. 

History of the Place

Nadur Madhameshwar contains islands, shallow ponds, and marshlands formed by continuous deposition and aggradation of silt and organic matter from the backwaters of the Nadur Madhameshwar dam for more than 90 years. 

It is the first wetland from Maharashtra to be enlisted in the International Ramsar Convention as the International Importance site and nine other sites from India on January 27, 2020. 

It fulfilled seven out of nine criteria sets: rare species and threatened ecological communities, biological diversity, support during critical lifecycle stage or in adverse condition, more than 20,000 water-birds to be recognized under the Ramsar Convention.

Ramsar Convention 

Also known as “the Convention on Wetlands”, Ramsar Convention is an international treaty for conserving and better using wetlands and their resources. 

It was adopted in Ramsar, an Iranian city in 1971 and came into action in 1975. It has 172 contracting parties around the globe and has recognized 2439 wetlands, i.e. 254,691,993 ha surface area till now. 

Recently two more sites have been recognized in India under Ramsar Convention. They are Khijadia Bird Sanctuary in Gujarat and Bakhira Wildlife sanctuary in Uttar Pradesh. This has taken up the number of Ramsar sites in India to 49, the highest for any country in South Asia.

Benefits of entering Ramsar Sites

Access to the Wetland

The bird sanctuary is 40 km away from Nashik and covers around 12 km. One can access this location through either local taxi services or State transport.

Topography of the Area

The annual temperature of Nadur Madhameshwar is around 24-25 degrees celsius. Weathers here are extreme, and the mercury is as low as 5-6 degrees most of the time, nights being the coldest. 

The sun shines harshly during summer days, and the average temperature is around 30 degrees. Most of the rain occurs during the summer, and the annual rainfall of this place is 1134 mm approximately.

Geology of Nadur Madhameshwar

 The wetland is located in Niphad taluka of Nasik district in Maharashtra at the Godavari and Kadva rivers created due to the construction of a dam. 

This place is within the 100 sq km Nadur Madhameshwar sanctuary formed in 1986. The presence of a bird sanctuary here earns the title of “Bharatpur of Maharashtra “(Rane 1983) for the place.

Hydrology of the Land

The water released from Gangapur and Darana water reservoirs is stored at Nadur Madhameshwar and then released from here to other places for irrigation through canals. The canal helps the farmers in the surrounding drought-prone areas of Gangapur and Vaijapur talukas of Aurangabad. The dam’s catchment area is surrounded by sugarcane, onion, jowar, wheat fields, and grape orchards.

Its four dams–Mukane, Bhawali, Waki, and Bha–in the Godavari river basin in Igatpuri Taluka, Nashik, are under construction through the Nadur Madhameshwar Irrigation project.

Flora Found

Nadur Madhameshwar is a stone pickup developed across the Godavari river, making it rich in biodiversity. The wetland has around 536 species of terrestrial and aquatic plant species. 

Some of the prominent plant species present here are Babul, Tamarind, Neem, Jamun, Vilayati Chinch, Maharukh, Pangara, Mango, Eucalyptus. Along with the rich terrestrial plant species, around 80 aquatic flora species are found here. It is also an abode to threatened Indian Sandalwood plants.

Wildlife Around

Nadur Madhameshwar is rich in botanical species and is house to eight mammal species, 265 bird species, 24 freshwater fish species, and 41 butterfly species. 

More than one percent of Common Pochard, White Stork, Common Crane, Eurasian Spoonbill, and Glosdy Ibis bird species can be found here. Butter catfish, Deolali minnow, and Shalini bard(threatened globally) are popular among fish species of the area. 

Being an important bird sanctuary of Maharashtra it houses vital threatened species such as Indian Spotted Eagle, Common Pochard, bristled grass bird, Wooly-necked stork, White-rumped vulture, Indian vulture. Leopard is common among big cats here.

Islands in the Lake

Three large islands are prominent in the waterbody, and about 23 small satellite lakes are there in a radius of 25 km around the reservoir.

Deterioration of the lake environment

The lake is facing anthropological and environmental threats presently. 

Some of the major anthropological threats are deforestation around the area, fertilizers and pesticides in the agricultural fields in the surrounding areas add to lake water pollution and illegal evacuation activities. 

The sewage dump in the area is also a great concern for the place. 

Increasing tourism in recent times has also added to the environmental degradation of the place. 

Commercial activities such as illegal construction are also causing damage to the lake’s topography.

The changing climate pattern is also affecting the lake topography a lot.

Restoration Plans

The wetland was included in the Central Asian Flyway(CAF) in October 2018. Central Asian flyway is an important migratory bird route, and with this identification, a part of the 5-year national action plan was announced by the Union Ministry of Environment. This will enhance, secure and conserve migratory birds’ routes and habitat.

Bombay Natural History Society(BNHS) under Salim Ali, known as the “Birdman of India”, was appointed by the Maharashtra government in November 2019. BNHS will study migratory birds and their habitat across six wetland sites in Maharashtra, including Nadur Madhameshwar, over the next five years.

Other than this, the site’s whole area, i.e. more than 90 percent, is covered by appropriate conservation designation. The state government has also set up a comprehensive and appropriate management plan to maintain and improve the population of bird species.

The government also controls deforestation, illegal poaching, and pollution through different initiatives. The government is also working actively towards awareness generation programs.

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