Chilika Lake Odisha is considered as one of the largest wetlands along the east coast of India. It is spread all over the Puri, Khurda, and Ganjam districts of Odisha state. Chilika lake Odisha has a unique collection of marine, brackish and freshwater ecosystems. This fragile ecosystem is known for its incredible biodiversity and is a designated Ramsar site.

It is also the wintering ground for more than one million migratory birds making it the most preferred avian grandeur. The highly productive lake ecosystem with its precious fishery resources. The livelihood of more than 200,000 fisher-folk who lives in and around the lake.

Geology of Chilika Lake Odisha:

The lake is a tidal delta type ephemeral lake in an environment with a changing climate. According to geological studies, the western shoreline of the lake was expanded. The Pleistocene Era when its northeastern areas were under the sea. The evidence of its coastline moving eastward over time is found from the fact that the Konark Sun Temple, which was built on the beach a few years ago, has now come about 3 km (2 mi) off the coast.

The white strips of corals at an altitude of 8 m॰ (26 ft) above the present sea level. It’s in the southern region indicate that this area was once deep inside the sea and much deeper than the current depth. The evolution of the outer fenced sandy land strip has been detected by the study of the mineral materials found here. The study was conducted on 16 samples of the lake’s surface. The volume of the samples ranged between 153 ± 3 m grey and 2.23 ± 0.07 grey for the upper surface to be 40 and the lower surface to be 300 years old.

Restoration and Management of Chilika Lake:

The principle adopted for restoration and the management of Chilika Lake by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) has been largely based on Ramsar guidelines, which recommended a diagnostic approach based on critical evaluation of the ecological, economic and socio-cultural features to identify objectives and also operational limits including factors for the restoration and effective management of wetland ecosystems. Based on the hydrodynamics modelling and wide consultation CDA carried out a hydrological intervention by way of opening an inlet in 2000. Considering sensitive ecosystem of the lake, for tracking the lake ecosystem, sensors mounted on buoys have also been deployed at ten strategic locations of the lake that transmit the water quality data on a real-time basis to the CDA laboratory.

Due to successful restoration, Chilika was again removed from the Montreux Record by the Ramsar Bureau with effect from 11th November 2003. Chilika Lake Odisha is also registered as the first wetland from Asia to be removed from the Montreux Record. The restoration of Chilika demonstrates the restoring ecological character of a wetland can also result not only in amelioration of bio-diversity but can leads to sustaining the livelihood of local communities due to the increase in productivity and ecosystem services.

Fortunately, many communities have now begun to realize the need and necessity for being responsible and wise enough for the usage of resources. Its biological diversity is one of the priceless heritage that must be preserved. If managed with utmost care, this vibrant lake can also provide an enduring future, both for its people and its life forms.

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