Reviving a dead lake inside Chennai Zoo

- by Sudha Ramen IFS, Yogesh Singh IFS, Director

Situation

Completely dry and lifeless 18 acre Otteri lake inside AAZP - Chennai Zoo

Battered by Cyclone Vardah in 2016, followed by consecutive summers of severe drought, the large lake dried up almost entirely.

Response

Project steps included the following

 

> Seeking the help of local government agencies, 

> Gathering volunteers,

> Identifying and clearing up the natural drainage channels

> Desilting the lake -  The soil was utilised to raise shallow mounds across the expanse of the lake, which we later afforested with fast-growing plants that attract birds,

> Strengthening its bunds

> Planting native trees on banks - Trees like Barringtonia (freshwater mangrove), ArjunaJamun, Ficus were planted aplenty on these mounds, to be nourished by the monsoon waters.

> Plan for a good stable weir and link it to nearby water bodies

> Then, created an excess water diversion channel, in case there is ever a chance of overflowing during heavy rains

Result

The work started in full swing around February 2019. Eight months later, in October 2019, the lake was brimming with water.

Lake is rejuvenated, water and birds are back forming an active ecosystem. Nearly 300 migratory birds have already nested around the revived lake, and just at the start of the season.


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