Participatory Jagadishpur wetland (Ramsar site) Wetland Conservation Initiative
Jagadishpur Reservoir (27035'N 83005'E)is a human made wetlands lies at an elevation of 197 m in Kapilvastu District of Lumbini zone, southwest Nepal in the Terai, west of the famous Lumbini area i.e., a World Heritage Site. It is currently the largest reservoir in country with a core area of 157 ha, and with surrounding wetlands the area is approximately 225 ha including 60 ha of marsh and 7 ha of shrub lands. It was constructed for the purpose of irrigation over the location of Jakhira lake and surrounding agricultural land in the early 1970s. The construction of a rock-fill dyke took place in the early 1980s. Based on criteria of waterfowl habitat, Jagadishpur Reservoir was enlisted in the Ramsar List in 2003. It is also an Important Bird Area.

Hydrologically, water in reservoir is fed from the nearby Ban Ganga River that has a catchment area in the Churia Hills. Incoming suspended silts and nutrients are deposited in the reservoir mouth. Maximum water depth varies between 7m in monsoon and 2m in drier month. Two smaller lakes as Sagarhawa and Niglihawa serve as a buffer habitat for bird movements. Water quality parameters are found within a suitable range for fish production (Boyd, 1982)

The vegetation is mainly in a submerged succession stage with patches of floating macrophytes and reed swamp formations. Marsh meadows and extensive mudflat fringed by marsh lies in the northern part. The terrestrial vegetation is dominated by Sisoo (Dalbergia sisoo) and hair (Acacia catechu) along the dike. The wetland vegetation consists of Morning Glory (Ipomea carnea ssp. fistulosa) and Cattail (Typha angustifolia). The aquatic vegetation is represented by extensive coverage of floating leaf species mainly Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) followed by Wild Rice (Hygrorhiza aristata) and Pondweed (Potamogeton nodosus). The free floating species include Water Velvet (Azolla imbricata) and Duckweed (Lemna spp.). The abundant submerged species include Water Nymph (Naja minor), Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) and hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum). The site provides shelter for an assemblage of some rare conservation importance species of plants, which include threatened Serpentine Rauvolfia serpentine, pondweed Potamogeton lucens, and lotus Nelumbo nucifera.

JR provides important resident, wintering and stopover habitats for waders, other water-birds, and small passerines. Noteworthy are the grebes, cormorants, herons and egrets (including the rare bittern Ixobrychus cinensis), storks, ducks and geese, terns and gulls, birds of prey, rails, coot and waterhens, Jacanas, as well as cranes and kingfishers. The site is very suitable for ducks and large waterfowl. It holds a total of 118 species of birds includes 61 wetlands dependent, 7 globally threatened and 3 nearly threatened species (Baral ) like White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis, Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris, Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga, Indian Spotted Eagle Aquila hastata, Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus and the tallest of all the flying birds, Sarus Crane Grus antigone.

Further, area is rich with 60 species of herpetofauna (11 sps. of amphibian, 1 sp of crocodile, 9 spp. of turtle, 14 spp. of lizard and 25 spp. of snake) and 23 spp. of mammals (Shah and Baral ). As many as 30 species of reptiles and 8 species of amphibians have been recorded in the reservoir area. These include Bengal Varanus bengalensis and Golden Monitors V. flavescens, Burmese Rock Python Python molurus bivittatus, Maskey’s Burrowing Frog, Ornate Rice Frog etc. Shrestha (2008) recorded 39 indigenous species representing 6 orders, 14 families and 24 genera of fishes from JR including lowland Terai endemics (e.g. Notopterus notopterus, Oxygaster bacaila) and threatened (Puntius chola)

The site is owned by the state. The surroundings are privately owned. Current uses of the reservoir by the local population include fishing, grazing, fuel wood and fodder collection, domestic use (e.g. laundry), harvesting of wetland products, recreation (e.g. have a picnic, bathing) and supply of water for irrigation in 6,200 ha of surrounding cultivated land. The water body has a great potential for commercial stock fish production. Its surroundings are mainly used for farming.

Despite high ecosystem, hydrological and socio-economic values, the Ramsar Heritage i.e. Jagadishpur wetland has been completely jeopardized. Various disturbances, including bird hunting are frequent. Other threats to the site include unsustainable methods of harvesting fish and other natural resources, siltation, deposition of detritus from aquatic macrophytes, water pollution from agricultural chemicals, and invasive alien species such as Eichhornia crassipes (DNPWC and IUCN, 2003). The dense aquatic macrophyte vegetation indicates as advanced eutrophic status and a high sedimentation rate. It has been noticed that birds' number has been already declined in the counting from the past 2 years.

Report about status and productivity of native fishes is unavailable, though introduction of 400,000 fingerlings of 6 species of carps (Common carp Cyprinus carpio; Silver carp Hypopthalmichthys molitrix; Big head carp Aristichthys nobilis; Grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella; Rohu Labeo rohita; and Mrigal Cirrhinus mirgala) sufficiently indicate that native and indigenous species have to suffer gradually in term of inter-community interaction and group competition.

All above mentioned threats are correlated with environmental governance associated strongly with livelihoods of adjoining community. DoI pledges only for irrigation, it has nothing to do with environmental quality of wetlands. All lands except settlements and roads-network belong to the jurisdiction of DoF. Local development and livelihoods issues fall into the reign of DDC and VDC. In term of legitimacy, all these institution functionally overlap each other. Environment is common agenda as milking pot but nobody's concern in term of energy and inputs thereby pushing JR to suffer from 'tragedies of common'. In any term, this pertinent issue needs addressing to retain resiliency of the JR as the Ramsar heritage of Nepal in line with umbrella principle of sustainable conservation and wise use of wetlands of the Convention. Thus the project aims to strengthen Local Governance for Participatory Conservation of the Ramsar Heritage and Livelihoods of the Community around Jagadishpur Reservoir.
 

Project Snapshot

Grantee: Alliance for Integrated Development- Nepal
Country: Nepal
Area Of Work: Biodiversity
Operational Phase: Phase 4
Grant Amount: US$ 39,104.00
Co-Financing Cash: US$ 24,100.00
Co-Financing in-Kind: US$ 5,321.00
Project Number: NEP/SGP/OP4/CORE/Y3/10/03
Start Date: 7/2010
End Date: 2/2012
Status: Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
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Indicators
Biophysical
Hectares of globally significant biodiversity area protected or sustainably managed by project 225

Grantee Contact

Mr. Ramesh Kumar Sharma
Email: maryal@crnamaste.wlink.com.np
 

Address

Bharatpur, Chitwan
Chitwan ,

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Gopal Raj Sherchan
Phone: (977-1) 500 0119/ 5523 200/ 552 3986
Fax: (977-1) 553 0269/ 552 3991/ 552 3986
Email: registry.np@undp.org, grsherchan@wlink.com.np
 
Mr. Vivek Dhar Sharma
Phone: 00977-1-5000119
Fax: 00977-1-5530269
Email: gefsgp_grsherchan@wlink.com.np
 

Address

UNDP, P.O. Box 107
Kathmandu
 

Country Website

http://www.sgp.org.np