Vol. 6, Issue 3 (2019)
Impact of anthropogenic activities on Dal Lake (Ecosystem/conservation strategies and problems)
Author(s): Urfan Ali
Abstract: Dal Lake (located at 34° 07′ N, 74° 52′ E, 1584 m above MSL, in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, India) has been a great tourist attraction in the past. However, once beautiful water body has been the worst victim of the anthropogenic pressures during the second half of the 20th Century and has undergone tremendous ecological changes. In spite of innumerable conservation measures taken by the management authorities over the past two three decades, the ecological condition of the lake has deteriorated and it is getting enriched with plant nutrients and other pollutants, becoming more and more infested with macrophytes, getting slowly shallower and shallower and shrinking gradually in size. An ecological study of the water body was conducted during March-April 2013 so as to gain insight into the flaws of the conservation endeavors. It was revealed that ecologically unsound management practices are the major cause for the plight of the lake. In response to the inshore dredging, skimming of free floating macrophytes and unplanned mechanical deweeding undertaken during the past several years, some previously sparsely distributed aquatic plants in the lake have reached nuisance levels, while hitherto unknown invasive Azolla pinnata has got widely distributed throughout the water body. A thorough study encompassing all environmental aspects, including socioeconomics, needs to be undertaken so as to frame an ecologically well balanced conservation strategy for this important aquatic ecosystem of the region.