Mirgund Lake Kashmir

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Mirgund Lake Srinagar

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Location: in the Kashmir Valley, 15 km WNW of Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
Area: 300 ha
Altitude: 1580m
Biogeographical province: 2.38.12
Wetland type: 13,14

Description of site: A shallow, freshwater lake with associated reed-beds and riverine marshes, on the floodplain of the Jhelum river in the Kashmir Valley. The lake is fed by local run-off and the Sukhnag and Ferozpora Nallas. The water level fluctuates considerably according to local rainfall, and much of the wetland dries out during the summer. The depth of water generally varies between 0.1 m and 0.5 m,í but reaches a maximum of 1.05 m after heavy rainfall. Large areas of willows (Salix sp.) have been planted around the periphery of the lake. The underlying soils are of a siltyclayey-loam type

Climatic conditions: Sub-mediterranean climate with very warm and relatively dry summers, and cold, wet winters with some precipitation in the form of snow

Principal vegetation: Extensive reed-beds of Phragmites communis with some Typha angustata, and marshy areas with Cynodon dactylon, Oryza sativa, and Polygonum amplexicaule. Open-water areas have a floating community of Nymphaea candicda and N. setllata. Some 179 species of phytoplankton have been recorded, species of Cholorophyceae predominating. The wetland is surrounded by rice paddies, pasture land, and plantations of Salix sp.

Land tenure: The wetland is state-owned (Government of Jammu & Kashmir); surrounding areas are privately owned by local villagers

Conservation measures taken: The Lake is protected as a game reserve by the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu & Kashmir. Parts of the vulnerable marshes have been fenced to prevent cattle damaging the marginal areas. Earthen bonds have been constructed and are periodically raised and reinforced to maintain water levels, and efforts are being made to control siltation. Waterfowl hunting is permitted on a controlled basis during the winter months

Conservation measures proposed: The existing management practices will be pursued, and greater efforts will be made to limit the rate of siltation. Proposals been made to fence the entire reserve and to plant water chestnut (Traps ratans), an important food plant for wintering waterfowl

Land use: Willows, reeds, grasses, and sedges are harvested in the summer months, and a controlled amount of shooting takes place in the winter months. There is also some fishing in the Lake. Surrounding areas have been planted with willows or are used for livestock grazing and the cultivation of rice

Disturbances and threats: As at all wetlands in the Kashmir valley, the principal threats are siltation, eutrophication, and encroachment by agricultural land. Fertilisers used on adjacent land enter the Lake in runoff and accelerate eutrophication

Economic and social values: The Lake supports a small fishery, and the Department of Wildlife Protection earns revenue from the reed-cutting and willow-cutting operations

Fauna: An important staging and wintering area for migratory waterfowl, The largest numbers occur during the migration seasons. Up to 50 common cranes (Gros grus) regularly utilise the wetland during migration. Breeding birds include Childonias hybrids. Other wildlife includes the jackal (Canis aureus), the frog (Rana cyanophyctis), the toad (Bufo viridis), and a variety of fishes such as Cyprinus carpio, Barbus conchonius and Gambusia affinis. The zooplankton is known to consist of at least 39 protozoans, 17 protozoans, 17 rotiferans, and 41 crustaceans (dominated by Cladocera and Rhizopoda)

Special floral values: No information

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