Ecosystem Health Report Card for Restoration of Deteriorated Coastal Ecosystems [ECOHEALTH]

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The Project

EcoHealth report card is a comprehensive coastal ecosystem health assessment tool that provides solution to restore lost ecosystems. The report card provides first-hand information on the health of the ecosystem and This is the first time such a report card is prepared for Indian coastal/ marine ecosystems under the ICZM project. Annual comparison of an ecosystem’s health (whether improved/ deteriorated) provides scientists develop solutions to improve conditions of degraded ecosystems. This study is expected to explore and formulate an Environmental Health Report Card (EHRC) to rejuvenate coastal and marine environment. The project is motivated by a requirement to improve the understanding of the varied processes for conservation in view of its deteriorating ecology. The study proposes to characterize several test sites (ecosystems) initially along the coastal waters taking into consideration the status of deterioration. Environmental data collected from time-series and monthly measurements are used to develop an Ecosystem Health Report Card. Three such ecosystem health report cards are prepared for the three ecosystems with the help of various Line Departments of respective State Governments namely:

  • Chilika lagoon, Odisha
  • Marine National Park Jamnagar (MNP), Gujarat

Aim

The aim of the EcoHealth program is to provide an integrated approach to ecosystem health monitoring along the India peninsula.

Objectives

  • Ecosystem health report card to rejuvenate coastal and marine environment

  • To assess the responses of the ecosystem to restoration efforts

ECOHEALTH Approach

The report card provides a transparent, timely, and geographically detailed assessment of an ecosystem.

Steps involved in preparation of Ecosystem Health Report Cards

Various indicators on physical, chemical, and biological characteristics included for the ecosystem health index.

Key Findings

Chilika Lake

In the first ever report card produced for the Chilika Lake, the ecosystem health scored a “B” based the water quality, fisheries, and biodiversity indices.

The lake as a whole displayed excellent (A) dissolved oxygen concentrations, water clarity, total fish catch and benthic infaunal diversity. The lake failed, however, for total chlorophyll concentrations (F), based on desired conditions. Of the ten indicators that were assessed within water quality, fisheries, and biodiversity, 79% (B+) in the Central Zone, followed by 76% (B) in the Southern Zone, 71% (B) in the Outer Channel Zone, and 69 (B) in the Northern Zone. The Chilika Development Authority continues to prepare the annual ecosystem health report card for the lake since its inception.

Figure 8: Ecosystem health report card- Chilika Lake

Marine National Park and Sanctuary, Jamnagar

Overall, the Marine National Park and Sanctuary– Jamnagar scored a “B” for ecosystem health based on performance of Water Quality, Fisheries, and Biodiversity indices.

Ecosystem health report card – MNPS, Jamnagar

Outcomes of Ecosystem Health Report Card