The Gogabil Lake in Katihar district, one of the largest wetlands of Bihar, has been declared the state’s first Conservation Reserve by the Department of Environment, Forest and Climate change, Bihar.
Geography of Gogabil Lake
Gogabil is Bihar’s 15th Protected Area and also state’s first Community Reserve. The State Board for Wildlife, under the provision of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, amended in 2002, incorporated Gogabil as Community Reserve and Community Reserve on 2 August, 2019. Gogabil, Bagharbeel and Baldia chaur are important wetlands enlisted in the Important Bird Areas (IBA) of Asia.
It is a prototype of oxbow lake of about 1 to 5 km dimension with ample water content round the year. The waterbody and land area of Gogabil encompass 217 acres area of which 73.78 acres belong to the government while the rest is owned by the local community of Amdabad and Manihari blocks of Katihar district. The area is heavily flooded during monsoons every year with rains and spill over from Kankhar, Mahananda and Ganga rivers. The lake is rich in aquatic flora and fauna providing abundant food attracting migratory birds in the winters. The lake provides a habitat for about 130 species of birds of which about 30 are migratory. Globally, there are 13 bird ways of which 2, namely, Central Asian and South Asian bird ways traverse Bihar.
Real and potential threats of Gogabil:
Over the decades, waterbody of the lake have shrunken due to accumulation of silt. Intensive agricultural practices with frequent use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides pose danger of water pollution with effects upon phytoplankton and zooplankton population and toxic levels in birds. Water pollution occur due to plastic, polythene, thermocol, metal, detergent, kerosene, mobil and other non biodegradable products.
Sound pollution due to vehicles, pump sets, loudspeakers and social events are disturbing the tranquility of bird habitat.
Human establishments and construction projects like, roads, bridges, checkdams, powergrids, transmission lines, mobile towers add to the loss.
Fishing activities and poaching are non deniable threats to birds.