The Himachal Pradesh State Wetlands Authority (HPSWA) constituted an expert committee to review implementation and effectiveness of activities undertaken within their “Wetlands Conservation Programme” at select major wetland sites of the state. Mr Harsh Ganapathi (Technical Officer – Water Management) and Mr Arghya Chakrabarty (Technical Officer – Biodiversity) represented Wetlands International South Asia in the committee and undertook evaluation exercise at Chandertal wetland complex on June 8, 2022.
The committee visited the wetland site, situated at 4250 m, varied by the scale of multiple values it provides and the pressures thereby. The wetland manager and Forest Guard of Chandratal Wildlife Sanctuary showcased various interventions and activities undertaken at the wetland and its catchment for conservation and management of wetland features. Some of the major interventions witnessed within the wetland premises were related to construction of check dams to arrest excess siltation, plantation on meadows near the Spiti River as an alternative grazing area and construction of shallow pond to trap snow melt runoff, to be used as a water source. The committee also learned about the efforts made by the wetland managers to maintain the fragile ecosystem and ensure wise-use and maintenance of wetlands natural integrity.
On review of wetland management actions, the committee prepared an evaluation report taking cognizance of results achieved from the interventions and further suggested integrated management actions to secure conservation and wise-use goals.
The committee also visited other ecologically important wetlands like Nako Lake and Dhankar Lake in Spiti region and undertook vegetation and water sampling.