The entry and exit to the 1.5 km-long trek will be on College Road

The draft ecological plan for a nature trail along the Cooum river, the first such proposal in an urban area in the State, is ready.

The project is planned from College Road bridge to Chetpet bridge by the Chennai River Restoration Trust in view of the biological diversity of the area which was undisturbed for decades.

The ecological plan has been prepared by Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure and Financial Services Limited (TNUIFSL). It would be implemented by Chennai Corporation after a meeting scheduled later this month with residents of the locality, officials of the Regional Meteorological Centre, WCC and DPI complex.

According to the draft ecological plan, floral species such as Indian almond, black wattle, sacred fig, madras thorn, Indian mulberry, neem, banyan, magizham, Indian cork tree, punnai, sirukkambil, karumugai, shenbagam, bayur tree, kadamba, pavazha malli, vettiver grass, palmorasa, agave, lemon grass and subabul would be part of species along the nature trail.

The species would play a role in erosion management and would also make the area fragrant and aesthetically appealing.

The nature trail would be based on an ‘elevated boardwalk' model with ‘uncompressed natural wood' and ‘fibre reinforced plastic.' The entry and exit would be on College Road near the DPI complex.

Apart from the parking facilities on the DPI premises, a stretch along the road between the entry point and the College Road Bridge would be demarcated for additional parking.

Five points located at 200 m intervals along the trail have been selected for erecting breakout areas including one for a canopy walk. The facility would not have electrical fittings as it has been designed as a ‘Day Trail.' But there would be scope for hybrid lighting with solar and wind power. The nature trail is expected to be an ornithologists' paradise in the city.

Trees cut

A floral survey conducted by TNUIFSL as part of the draft ecological plan along the Cooum River found that 36 fully grown trees were cut between May and September in the proposed 1.5 km stretch.

The survey, as part of the biodiversity inventory in the area, was undertaken in May and 30 different species of plants were documented. During the re-survey in September, it was found that 36 fully grown trees that were documented were missing. The trees were cut to facilitate the work on the elevated road from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal, the survey said.

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