The first meeting of the Kondakarla Ava wetland management committee was held here late on Wednesday evening.
The meeting was chaired by Pattanshetti Ravi Subhash, District Collector of Anakapalli, and was co-chaired and convened by Anant Shankar, District Forest Officer, Visakhapatnam.
Expert members and district officers from Agriculture, Horticulture, Irrigation, Education and Fisheries departments attended the meeting.
Mr. Anant Shankar apprised the committee members regarding the importance of the Kondakarla Ava wetland, its history, uniqueness and the challenges and threats being faced. Subsequently, the DFO put forward the proposal of constitution of Kondakarla Ava Mitra for registration of volunteers from the society as well as public institutions and private organisations.
A mobile-based application has also been proposed which can be used for registering the volunteers of Kondakarla Ava Mitra and for monitoring of physical, biological and chemical parameters of the lake using remote sensing and GIS.
Mr. Anant Shankar also informed the members about priority activities to be taken up such as plantations with coconut trees and forest tree species along the periphery of the wetland, which will help in stabilising the lake boundary. The Collector responded positively to the proposals and requested for submission of the proposals.
The committee further discussed the different works that can be taken up in relation to tourism development, beautification, and conservation of the second largest freshwater wetland in Andhra Pradesh. The committee also stressed on participative management of the lake with active involvement of local communities and the need to ensure equal opportunities to all the nearby habitations.
Issues like regular de-siltation of the wetland and inlet and outlet drains were discussed. Mr. Ravi Subhash instructed the Irrigation Department to submit a proposal for the same.
Expert member Raja Bandi from IISER, Tirupati spoke on initiating citizen science initiatives, engagement of citizens, especially the youth, in coordination with the district administration. He further stressed on starting long-term data collection so as to ensure effective conservation of the wetland.
Mr. Ravi Subhash requested IISER to assist in training the locals as bird guides so as to generate awareness and provide sustainable livelihoods to local youth.
Dr. Kameswara Rao, former professor of Andhra University, talked about his work in Kondakarla Ava. He stressed on taking up activities to check ‘eutrophication’ of the water body and to make it a model wetland in Andhra Pradesh.