Facilities to be added at the lagoon include a boat jetty, watchtowers, restrooms, and boats

The mangrove-rich Muthupettai lagoon in Tiruvarur district has always been an enthralling spot for tourists, wildlife enthusiasts, birdwatchers, and environmentalists.

The number of tourists visiting the spot has been increasing every year. “With a view to make the lagoon more attractive, tourism facilities will be improved at a cost of Rs.2 crore,” said S. Natarajan, District Collector. He told presspersons, who were taken on a tour to the mangrove forests on Thursday, that the facilities to be added include a boat jetty, watchtowers, restrooms, and boats. A proposal has been sent to the tourism department.

“Tourists are visiting Muthupettai in large numbers and improvement in facilities will make their stay enjoyable,” Mr.Natarajan said. A road leading to the lagoon from Muthupettai is being laid and of the 2.4-km road about 1 km has already been completed, ” the Collector said. Spread across 120 sq.km, the mangroves act as a natural barrier against sea erosion . According to Velayudham, a forest watcher, the lagoon is formed by seven rivers – Korayar, Nasuviniyar, Pattuvanachi, Baminiyar, Maraca Korayar, Valavanar, and Thandakurichiyar.

Already three watchtowers have been put up by the forest department near the lagoon.

Biodiversity spots have been identified by forest department to help tourists watch various species of birds that frequent the lagoon, including Painted Storks, Terns, Shore birds, Flamingos, and Grey Herons.

Forest department staffs are on a 24-hour-vigil to protect the mangrove forests. “With a view to protect the forests, regeneration is done every year,” officials said.

Avicennia marina is the main mangrove species that occupy 90 per cent of the area in Muthupettai. Other species found here are excoecaria agallocha and aegiceras corniculatum . Finfish, shrimps, and crabs are seen in large quantity at the lagoon.