Hindustan Times, Dehradun

A view of Asan Conservation Reserve, a wetland in Dehradun district. (HT file photo )



Uttarakhand government will soon start geo-tagging of wetlands in the state for better conservation and documentation, informed officials.

The revenue and forest department will work together to conduct ground inspections and check the status of wetlands under the guidance of Uttarakhand Space Application Centre (USAC).

USAC director MPS Bisht said the initiative is part of a nationwide project of Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad, that is trying to gather information about wetlands across the country.

“We are being provided satellite data by Space Application Centre. This data will be used to geo-tag wetlands of the state. Our scientists will study the data and then conduct field visits to map the wetlands,” said Bisht.

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He added that mapping will help the state government track the development of the wetland, using satellite data. “Once the wetlands are geo-tagged, their progress can be tracked through satellite data, whether they are increasing or the area has decreased due to various developmental activities and plan conservation policies accordingly, as wetlands are very important for the ecology,” added Bisht.

Last week, state chief secretary Om Prakash had met department officials for rejuvenation of water bodies and wetlands in the state. “Rejuvenation of water bodies in the state should be taken up as a project on priority. On one hand, there will be an improvement in groundwater level and on the other, means of employment will also increase. Ground mapping of the wetlands identified by the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Space Application Centre Ahmedabad should be done at the earliest. The priorities of these wetlands should be decided through the Department of Drinking Water,” said Prakash.

In October, Asan Conservation Reserve in Dehradun district became the first Ramsar site, a wetland of international importance.

From the nine criteria for being declared as a Ramsar site, Asan Conservation Reserve had cleared five: species and ecological communities, specific criteria based on water birds and specific criteria based on fish.