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Ninth plan projects and Activities

Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management (ICMAM) programme


The studies relating to ICMAM is being carried out for the first time in the country, initially capacity building activities were undertaken with funding from the International Development Association (IDA). Pilot projects, that were undertaken in this regard, include GIS based information system for 11 critical habitats, Determination of Waste Assimilation Capacity for pollutants, Development of EIA guidelines for coastal activities and Development of Model ICMAM Plans for Chennai, Goa and Gulf of Kachchh. These projects completed in June 2003, resulted in attainment of expertise in the areas of Remote Sensing and GIS for coastal habitat management, demonstration of use of mathematical modelling in determining Waste Assimilation Capacity (WAC), coastal erosion and accretion and Development of EIA Guidelines to address the inter-sectoral impact in ports and harbours, waste disposal and tourism sectors. R & D projects on Zonation of coastal waters and Determination of No Impact Zone for developmental activities that helped in demonstrating the use of GIS and mathematical modelling in habitat management were also completed during this period.

To facilitate the continuous updation of knowledge on application of the above scientific tools and techniques, the Ministry of Earth Sciences is continuing the ICMAM Programme with its own funding and have developed long term programmes on Shoreline Management, Management of tidal inlets, Ecosystem Modelling and Marine Ecotoxicology. Shoreline management plans for Ennore (TN), Kayankulam (Kerala) Ullal-Mangalore (Karnataka) and Vellar Estuary (TN) suggesting scientific solutions to solve the problems of erosion along the coast and siltation at river mouths. It has determined safe limits in seawater for chemicals such as copper, mercury and cadmium using most modern experimental techniques. It has built extensive infrastructure and other facilities to carryout the above projects. Training programmes on application of the above tools in Coastal zone Management etc. are being conducted regularly for the Coastal State Governments and R & D institutions as a part of the exercise to impart the knowledge gained to the users for adoption of ICMAM in the country.

Ninth plan projects and activities

1. Capacity Building Projects

Development of GIS based information system for selected critical habitats in the coastal and marine areas in India

The main aim of this activity is to develop an information system using Geographical Information System (GIS) for 11 critical habitats namely, Gulf of Kachchh, Gulf of Khambhat, Malvan, Karwar Islands, Kochi Islands, Kadmat island of Lakshadweep, Gulf of Mannar, Pichavaram, Coringa, Gahirmatha and Sunderbans.

Critical Habitat Information System in respect of all the above 11 critical habitats has been developed and brought out in the form of reports and ArcView and Power Point presentations. A standalone package of query for the database has also been developed in Windows environment. The Information System contains the details of infrastructure, vegetative cover, land use pattern, water quality, biodiversity and socio-economic details of the dependent population, etc

GIS and Remote Sensing were demonstrated as tools for assessing the status of the mangroves, coral reefs, mapping of sea grass beds, biodiversity of the habitats, etc. Changes in the characteristics of mangrove ecosystem, especially the mangrove vegetation coverage and the land cover changes as brought out by the Remote Sensing techniques and the overlay and change analysis facilities available in the GIS software, have clearly indicated the quantitative changes from healthy mangrove to degraded and vice-versa. It has also revealed the extent of conversion of mangrove areas to others like shrimp culture farms (639 ha particularly in Coringa, Andhra Pradesh) and mudflats to mangroves (Fig. 1). Such information is very useful to analyse the causes for degradation and to take conservation measures. GIS has helped in accurate mapping of coral reef in Gulf of Mannar, Malvan and Kadmat Island and to indicate the locations of patches of live and dead corals (Fig. 2). This information is very useful for periodical monitoring of coral reef cover, assess their health and develop conservation measures. The mapping of turtle breeding grounds in and around Gahirmatha has revealed the possibility of coastal geomorphology playing a significant role for turtles to decide the area of nesting.

Fig.1. - Land cover of Coringa mangroves (Andhra Pradesh) showing changes in mangrove areas over a decade

Based on the extensive studies carried out by the ICMAM Project Directorate on Development of GIS based information system for these critical habitats, a number of suggestions/recommendations have been made to the coastal states for conservation and management of these critical habitats, based on sustainability principles. For containing the degradation of mangroves in Pichavaram (Tamil Nadu) and Coringa (Andhra Pradesh), afforestation programmes have been recommended and initiated. The Govt. of Tamil Nadu has used the GIS based coral reef maps of Gulf of Mannar for demarcation of marine protected areas or areas closed for fishing.

Determination of Waste Load Allocation and Waste assimilation capacity at selected estuaries along coastal areas of India

The concept of Waste Load Allocation based on the Waste Assimilation Capacity (WAC) of our estuaries and coastal waters is new to India. Understanding of hydrodynamics and other aspects relating to water quality of the water bodies is essential to determine the WAC. Three sites were selected to demonstrate this concept and they are, Tapi estuary (Gujarat), Ennore Creek (Chennai) and Hoogly estuary ( West Bengal).

The assimilation capacity of domestic sewage containing putrefied organic matter (BOD) and human pathogens like fecal coliform bacteria were determined using hydrodynamics and water quality models developed for this purpose. The results obtained for Tapi estuary indicated that at current, total estimated BOD load (approx. 52,000 kg/day), the average river response at 10 cu.m/sec does not meet the water quality criteria prescribed for Dissolved oxygen (DO) i.e. 3 mg/l under SW III category (Industrial Cooling Aesthetics) and the current load need to be decreased by about 20% to meet the DO criteria. Such a negative aspect has been noticed despite the average tidal amplitude of about 3m. The Tapi Municipal Corporation has been made aware of the extent of the problem. In case of Ennore coast at Royapuram, high bacterial counts exceeding permissible limits were noted at the sewage disposal points. However, through mathematical models, it was found that due to the prevalence of strong longshore currents, the bacterial load were subjected to large scale dilution and dispersion resulting into normal concentrations beyond 300 m from the disposal point. Regarding the Hooghly estuary, high bacterial counts were experienced near the bathing ghats due to onshore disposal of sewage. Mathematical models revealed that if the sewage is disposed in the centre of the river channel, due to large tide amplitude, the bacterial load gets diluted and normal concentrations are attained beyond 300 m from disposal point.

The Pollution Control Boards of respective states were closely associated with this exercise and made aware of the results for necessary action. The project was implemented through the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai

Development of Guidelines for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies for marine and coastal developmental activities and processes

EIA Guidelines have been developed through NIOT for conducting Environmental Impact Assessment studies in the Ports and Harbours, tourism related activities in the coastal marine areas and for waste disposal from domestic and industrial sources including discharge of waste through pipelines, etc.

The guidelines prepared for construction and maintenance of Ports and harboursand related activities address the issues such as National and International Environmental regulations relevant to port and harbour projects; screening and scoping to determine the type of EIA; baseline studies; prediction of Environmental impacts; risk assessment factors; Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to mitigate and offset the adverse environmental impacts including cross-impacts of the project and to protect the environment; and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) giving details of the studies carried out for EIA.

The EIA guidelines for disposal of waste water from domestic and industrial sources through marine outfalls address the issues such as, Environmental legislations applicable to locate an outfall facility in the coastal zone; discharge standards of treated waste water and coastal water quality criteria for different uses such as baseline assessment; analysis of alternatives; alternative selection of pipeline route; alternative technology i.e. alternative wastewater treatment and disposal option; environmental impacts of marine outfalls; optimisation of the location of the outfall and design and monitoring the performance of a marine outfall.

The guidelines on the EIA for coastal tourism developed by NIOT highlight the nature of projects; data required for the feasibility study; techno-economic feasibility analysis; environmental clearances required for setting up of the projects; comparison of the tourism projects with alternative projects; evaluation of impacts; baseline assessment of air, land and water environments; prediction of impacts and environmental management. These guidelines would be useful in pre-project evaluation of the impacts of tourism and for ensuring sustainable use of the natural resources like groundwater, beaches, etc. and protection of beach vegetation, beach fauna, etc.

Development of model Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management (ICMAM) plans for selected sites along the coastline of India

The concept of integrated coastal and marine area management is being practiced in various countries to minimise cross-sectoral impacts. Lack of application of appropriate evaluation tools to predict the cross-impacts of a target activity leads to improper assessment of likely negative impacts and, as a result, the non-target sectors experience unexpected damages. Therefore, it was proposed to demonstrate the use of tools and techniques like GIS, Remote Sensing and Mathematical Modelling in the prediction of cross-impacts by thoroughly analysing the problems using these tools. Solving the cross-impacts is the basic requirement of an integrated management. Hence, it was felt that by preparing model Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management (ICMAM) Plans, the practical utility of above tools can be demonstrated. Accordingly, model ICMAM Plans have been prepared by ICMAM-PD for Chennai, Goa and Gulf of Kachchh, where a variety of activities are performed along the coast and some of them have cross-impacts on these sectors.

ICMAM Plan for Chennai

The model ICMAM Plan for Chennai has been prepared by ICMAM-PD in association with Tamil Nadu State Govt. and Indian Institute of Technology, ( Madras) Chennai 17. Modern tools like GIS, Remote sensing, and Numerical Modelling (MIKE-21) were used to analyse the issues in the 40 km stretch of Chennai coast extending from Pulicat Lake in the north to Mahabalipuram in the south and for prediction of impacts due to natural and anthropogenic perturbations (Fig. 4).

Fig. 3 - ICMAM Plan area for Chennai

The North Chennai offers one of the best examples to demonstrate the need for application of Integrated Coastal and Marine Area Management concept, especially to solve the cross-impacts like erosion, accretion and degradation of water bodies like lakes due to developmental activities. The area has two power plants, viz., Ennore Thermal Power Plant (ETP) and North Chennai Thermal Power Plant (NCTP) and both of them are the main sources of electricity supply to Chennai City. These power plants draw cooling water from Ennore creek and discharge the hot water in the hot water pond or in the coastal waters. In order to facilitate the supply of coal to these power plants, the Ennore port was constructed and commissioned in the year 2001. The port has the southern and northern breakwaters. Due to the existence of littoral drift (due to long shore currents) along the East Coast, which transports the sediments mostly in the south to north direction during 9 months period, the sediments get deposited between the southern breakwater and Ennore creek. This leads to growth of the beach along the southern coast as well as siltation at the mouth of Ennore creek. Due to short supply of sediments, the long shore currents pick up the sediments in the northern side of the north breakwater, posing threat of erosion along the northern coast. The depth at the mouth of the Ennore creek is maintained by dredging by the power plants to keep constant flow of tidal water for cooling purposes. The power plant has been planning to draw water from the port basin, as the dredging is becoming tedious and cost-intensive, due to consistent increase in the rate of deposition of silt at the mouth of the creek. In case the power plant stops dredging, the water flow in the Ennore creek, which is carrying the effluents discharged by nearby petroleum and chemical industries, will gradually change its course towards the Pulicat lake through the interconnecting Buckingham Canal situated between these two water bodies.If such an event occurs, it will degrade the water quality of the lake resulting into resource depletion. The ICMAM Project Directorate has studied the erosion, accretion and water flow characteristics of the Ennore creek, coastal waters and Pulicat lake. It has suggested construction of training jetties at the mouth of Ennore creek with minimum dredging or continue to full fledge dredge indefinitely to keep the mouth open, so that the NCTP is able to draw cooling water and abandon the plan of drawing seawater from the Port. The problem of likely erosion at the northern coast has been studied in the 10 th plan and an appropriate solution developed

The problem of pollution from sewage has been studied and several scenarios for management of wastes at Adyar estuary have been generated. The options of treatment, dilution by seawater by keep opening mouth etc., have been suggested. The issue of conflicting use of land along the East Coast Road for the purpose of tourism at the expense of ground water recharge has been studied using remote sensing and GIS Recommendations have been made to avoid establishment of concrete covered tourism facilities at highly rechargeable areas.

ICMAM Plan for Goa

The ICMAM Project Directorate, in association with Govt. of Goa and National Institute of Oceanography, Goa, is engaged in the development of an ICMAM Plan for the coastal areas of Goa. Goa, being the smallest coastal state of the country, is blessed with good forest cover and picturesque beaches . Compared to other states in the country, the coastal areas of Goa are by and large free from major environmental problems like coastal pollution and erosion. It has economic activities like mining, tourism and fishing. The investigations made under the ICMAM Plan have revealed that at present there are very little or no environmental problems in the coastal areas of Goa except declining fish catch per boat in the recent years. While the present level of beach tourism has no or little environmental impacts, the threat of excessive beach tourism in the future remains. The ICMAM Project Directorate has studied the possible impact of excessive tourism activities and predicted negative effects like the areas that will be converted for tourism development ( Figs.4 & 5 ). Integrated management solutions to avoid such problems in future have also been suggested.

Modelling studies conducted in the Mandovi estuary indicated that tidal amplitude at current level provides good amount of dilution and dispersion of sewage based pollutants. This revealed that the increased disposal of treated sewage in future will not cause much of water quality problems. The plan has identified green areas spread over 1 to 5 km from the coast that should not be used for tourism. The tourism and industrial policies of the state are found to adequately emphasize the need to preserve the environment. The plan has suggested ways and means for sustainable development of resources and sound management of the environment of Goa.

ICMAM Plan for Gulf of Kachchh

The Gulf of Kachchh (GOK), a large marine ecosystem in the state of Gujarat, has unique ecosystems like coral reefs and mangroves at its southern coast and mangroves at selected locations along the northern coast ( Fig. 6). The GOK has a tidal amplitude ranging from 3–8 m. The developmental activities like construction of ports and human interventions like mining of corals, destruction of mangroves to expand the salt pan activities etc., have extensively damaged

Fig. 6- Map of Gulf of Kachchh showing locations of mangroves and coral reefs

the corals and the mangroves in the region. Due to its proximity to the Arabian Gulf, the GOK has attracted establishment of facilities like ports, Single Point Mooring (SPM) stations for handling large amount of crude oil. The ports and SPMs at GOK handle 40% of the import oil requirement of the country. Due to handling of such large volume of oil (about 40 million tonnes) the threat of oil spills always exist. In the event of oil spills, the rejuvenating corals and protected mangroves will experience extensive damages. The ICMAM Project Directorate has collected extensive data and developed hydrodynamic, water quality, oil spill and sediment transport models to study the impact of developmental activities and oil spills on the ecosystems of the GOK. The oil spill model has predicted extensive damages that will be caused to the corals, mangroves and mud flats, in the event of oil spill occurring near SPMs ( Fig. 7 ).

Fig. 7 - Model predicted area ( ) affected by Oil spills in the Gulf of Kachchh

The Mathematical modelling studies have suggested that dredged spoils disposed by a major port and a minor port reach to a limited extent to the coral reef areas of the Southern coast . The plan has also suggested measures for disposal of dredged spills by ports, so that transportation of silt and their deposition on coral reef areas can be avoided. Increased salinity in the inner Gulf areas caused by the combined effect of evaporation and discharge of bittern from the salt pans has led to decrease in biodiversity in that area. The plan has suggested to declare the southern coast as the zone for no development for ports and industries. It has suggested establishment of industries in the area between Mandvi and Jakhav on the northern coast due to non-existence of eco-sensitive areas like mangroves etc. Further, the modelling studies have indicated availability of good dilution and dispensability of pollutants in this area. Several strategies have been suggested for integrated management of the environment and resources of GOK in the ICMAM Plan for GOK.

2. R&D Projects

ICMAM is a continuous and evolutionary process. Often, it demands refining of existing approaches, introduction of new tools and development of new methods to facilitate integrated coastal management. On fulfillment of these needs, better strategies for management of the area are developed. As a part of this need, the ICMAM-PD is engaged in the short and long-term R&D activities. The activities completed during the 9 th Plan and proposed to be carried out during the 10 th Plan are given below:

Determination of Zonation (Use Classification) of Coastal Waters

The conflicting use of coastal waters will lead to loss of resources, revenue to the dependent fishermen population and long-term damage to the environment. In view of this, it is desirable to designate use of coastal waters depending on the nature of ambient land cover, occurrence of sensitive ecosystems like mangroves, corals, turtle breeding grounds, abundance of fishery resources, etc. Since these habitats and fishery demand appropriate type of water quality for their sustenance, it is necessary to plan the land and sea-based activities in such a manner that these activities do not alter the stipulated water quality. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has identified five such uses, namely, SW I for ecologically sensitive areas etc., SW II for non-human contact and fishing, SW III for industrial cooling, SW IV for harbour waters and SW V for controlled waste disposal. Water quality criteria for primary parameters like dissolved oxygen, bacteria and pH have been prescribed for the above types of uses. As maintenance of the water quality ensures preservation of marine environment, its adoption is strongly recommended in coastal, rural and urban land use planning activities.

Fig. 8 – Landuse changes along Mangalore coast in 1973 and 1999

As a part of the effort towards better management of marine environment in India, the MOES has undertaken a project, namely, Zonation of Coastal Waters. The main aim of this study is to develop future designated use of coastal waters based on the present use of the adjoining coastal land. These aspects have been completed for Porbandar, Veraval, Ratnagiri, Daman, Hazira (Tapi estuary), Honnavar, Mangalore, Trivandrum, Calicut, Tuticorin, Nagapattinam, Pondicherry, Krishnapatnam, Visakhapatnam, Gopalpur, Konark, Puri and Digha. Based on present level of water quality, the designated use has been identified and zonation of adjoining land to preserve the existing water quality has been suggested. For example, in the case of Mangalore, despite considerable change of land use from 1973 to 1999 (Fig. 8), the water quality data of 1999 indicate that it is at the level of SW I. In order to maintain this level, it has been suggested to plan the industrial and other activities in a cautious manner i.e., permitting discharge of only treated wastes, so that the present water quality can be maintained in the future also. The project has been implemented in association with Institute of Ocean Management, Anna University, Chennai, and National Institute of Oceanography, Goa and its regional centres at Kochi and Vishakapatnam. Zonations of 28 locations have been determined during the 9 th and 10 th plan periods.

Application of Remote Sensing for Management of Coastal Habitats

Under the project on Application of Remote Sensing for management of coastal habitats sponsored to Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad, a methodology for eco-geomorphological zonations for selected coral reefs in the Gulf of Kachchh, Lakshadweep Islands, Gulf of Mannar and A&N Islands, using Indian Remote Sensing Satellite’s (IRS) LISS III and panchromatic (PAN) data, was developed. Coral reef features such as reef slope, reef crest, algal ridge, boulder bed, outer reef, inner reef, coral knolls, etc., have been identified. A methodology for identification of major mangrove communities such as Avicennia, Rhizophora, Sonneratia, Brugeuria, Ceriops, etc., was also developed using IRS LISS III and PAN data. This work was carried out in selected mangrove areas of Gulf of Kachchh, Goa, Coringa, Bhitarkanika, Sunderbans and A&N Islands Digital database on land use, coral reef, etc., for A&N Islands and criteria based models were developed to classify coastal zone, based on environmental sensitivity as well as coastal regulation zone requirements

Determination of No Impact Zone for Pulicat in Tamil Nadu and Coringa in Andhra Pradesh

The developmental activities like construction of ports, establishment of industries etc. pose a great threat to the physical and ecological characteristics of critical habitats like lagoons, mangroves, coral reefs, etc., and at times it leads to the loss of the habitat itself. As an advance planning measure in the selection of sites for establishment of ports, industries, disposal of wastes etc., it is necessary to identify the distance/zones of “No Impact” of the targeted activity to the habitats. In order to demonstrate the use of these aspects, the ICMAM-PD undertook No Impact Zone studies at two ecologically sensitive locations, namely, Pulicat lake (TN & AP) and Coringa mangroves (AP).

Pulicat lake is a brackish water body (Fig. 3) supporting a variety of aquatic organisms and the lake is known as an ecologically sensitive area. The Coringa mangrove is an ecologically important habitat (Fig. 1). The impacts of existing structures like breakwaters of Ennore port on Pulicat lake and breakwater of Kakinada port on Coringa mangroves were analysed. It has been found that at the existing physical location of northern breakwater of Ennore port, there has been no immediate danger of erosion of the sandbar at Pulicat lake. However, any structure such as shore protection measures, if constructed north of northern breakwater of Ennore creek without taking into consideration its impact on adjoining areas, may cause erosion near and at the mouth of the lake. In case of Coringa mangroves, a scenario has been generated on the water quality of mangrove areas in the absence of port, as the breakwater of the existing port affects the volume of seawater that enters into the mangrove areas. It has been found that the presence of breakwater at the current location has resulted in the decreased flow of tidal water in the mangroves, thereby resulting in low levels of dissolved oxygen in the interior mangrove areas. These observations provide an excellent source of information on impact of developmental activities and they can be applied in all Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies. As known well, EIA is an essential component of integrated management.