What is Mokarsagar

The Wetland Awaiting Recognition

    Mokarsagar Wetland Complex is located in the Porbandar district of Gujarat state of India.Mokarsagar Wetland Complex (previously known as Gosabara) is the name given to the cluster of wetlands situated in around villages like Miyani, Visavada, Palkhada, Modhvada, Kuchhadi, Zavar, Chhaya, Odedar, Ratanpar, Vanana, Ranghavav, Bhorasa, Dharampur, Gosa, Narvai, Bhad, Lushala, Navagam, Tukda, Mokar, Amipur, Chikasa and Pipliya of Porbandar district. The Mokarsagar wetland complex is a group of wetlands incl. Medha creek, Kuchhadi, Subhashnagar, Zavar, Kurly I, Karly II, Vanana, Dharampur, Gosabara, Bhadarbara, Mokarsagar, Bardasagar and Amipur of Porbandar district of Gujarat. The wetland complex is a lifeline for the community as well as the wetland-dependent biodiversity including both the flora (mangrove, macroalgae, macrophytes) and fauna (birds, reptiles, insects and mammals).

Wetland types:

      Within the Mokarsagar Wetland Complex, three wetland types are recognised
     (1)   Coastal brackish/saline lagoons as a part of Marine or Coastal wetland,
     (2)   Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes, shrub-dominated freshwater marshes as Inland wetlands
     (3)   Water storage areas; reservoirs/barrages/dams/impoundments as a Human made wetland.

Mokarsagar- Why not Ramsar site?


Criteria for Ramsar listing:
To be listed as Wetlands of International Importance or ‘Ramsar sites’, wetlands must meet one or more internationally accepted criteria in relation to their zoology, botany, ecology, hydrology or limnology and importance to waterbirds.
Criteria 1:
A representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region
Criteria 2:
Supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities
Criteria 3:
Supports populations of plants and / or animal species important for maintaining the biological diversity of a particular biogeographic region
Criteria 4:
Supports plant and / or animal species at a critical stage in their life cycle, or provides refuge during adverse conditions
Criteria 5:
Regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds
Criteria 6:
Regularly supports 1 % of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird
Criteria 7:
Supports a significant proportion of indigenous fish subspecies, species or families, life-history stages, species interactions and / or populations that are representative of wetland benefits and / or values and thereby contributes to global biological diversity
Criteria 8:
Important source of food for fishes, spawning ground, nursery and/ or migratory path on which fish stocks, either within the wetland or elsewhere depends
Criteria 9:
Regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of wetland- dependent non-avian animal species
Out of nine above mentioned criteria, Mokarsagar site signifies minimum six of them i.e. criteria one to six. With proper field work and research, it can signify remaining too.

Justification of criteria for Ramsar listing


Criteria 1:
Mokarsagar is an example of unique amalgam of natural and man-made wetlands. Mokarsagar is popularly known as “Eden Garden of birds”. Total 261 bird species (incl. 124 species of waterbirds) have been recorded in Porbandar district. Mokarsagar supports many migratory waterbirds in their critical stage of life i.e. escaping winter.
Criteria 2:
Total 261 bird species are recorded in Porbandar. Out of which 18 fall under the categories of either Vulnerable or Near Threaten (Table 1)

No Common Name Scientific Name Category
1 Asian Woollyneck Ciconia episcopus Vulnerable
2 Macqueen’s Bustard Chlamydotis macqueenii Vulnerable
3 Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus Vulnerable
4 Indian Spotted Eagle Clanga hastate Vulnerable
5 Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga Vulnerable
6 Sarus Crane Grus Antigone Vulnerable
7 Oriental Darter Anhinga melanogaster Near Threatened
8 Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca Near Threatened
9 Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala Near Threatened
10 Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus Near Threatened
11 Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus Near Threatened
12 Lesser Flamingo Phoeniconaias minor Near Threatened
13 Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa Near Threatened
14 Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata Near Threatened
15 Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus Near Threatened
16 Red-necked Falcon Falco chicquera chicquera Near Threatened
17 River Tern Sterna aurantia Near Threatened
18 European Roller Coracias garrulus Near Threatened
Criteria 3:
Asian Waterbird Census 2015 organized by Shree Sahajanand Swami District Community Science Centre covered 21 sites of the wetlands of Porbandar, has established a healthy popu-lation of 1,93,358 birds belonging to many different families in around Mokarsagar Wetland Complex.
Criteria 4:
Porbandar is one of the mega bio-diverse district of Gujarat as it has 261 species of Birds, 22 species of Mammals, 39 species of Reptiles, four species of Amphibians, 55 species of Butterflies, and 759 species of Plants. In the context this wetland complex is favorable home to mammals like Jungle Cat (Felis chaus) (Fig. 2.), Indian Fox (Vulpes bengalensis), Golden Jackal (Canis aureus), Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus), Indian hare (Lepus nigricollis) and Common Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsi). Mokarsagar is true home to various flora and fauna including waterbirds, plants, mammals, fish, snakes, lizards, and am-phibians and butterflies.
Criteria 5 and 6:
As mentioned in criteria 3, instead of 20,000 birds or 1% of a popula-tion of one species, Mokarsagar definitely supports more waterbirds than required number.

Notes

Mokarsagar Wetland Conservation Committee (MWCC) in collaboration with expert groups, will work on fresh water fish diversity and other floral– faunal elements of Mokarsagar to further justify remaining criteria.

Reference:


• Meena,R.L. and Kumar,S.2014. Management Plan for Porbandar Bird Sanctuary, Gujarat Forest Department,Gujarat,India.
• Childress,B.,Nagy,S.andHughes,B.Compilers).2008.InternationalSingleSpeciesActionPlanforthConservation of the Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor). CMSTechnical SeriesNo.18, AEWA Technical SeriesNo.34. Bonn,Germany.
• http://jaidevjai.blogspot.in/2008/01/birding-sots-around-porbandar.html
• Wetlands Management Planning Methodology Manual for Indian Managers January 2013, Version 1.0.
• Vargiya D. V. et al. 2015. Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) 2015 Porbandar, Shree Sahajanand Swami District Community Science Centre, Gujarat, India