PARTICIPATORY WATER MONITORING (JALADARPANAM)
ATREE believes in participatory conservation, and as a part of its participatory conservation programme, CERC started Jaladarpanam which is a scientific and pragmatic methodology for participatory water quality monitoring involving the stakeholders of the lake.
The water is collected and tested by the Lake Protection Forum for which they have been trained and equipped with water quality monitoring kits with basic testing tools for pH, salinity and temperature. The result of the test is displayed on the water quality monitoring boards set up in six different areas of the Vembanad Lake by ATREE CERC for public awareness. Apart from this water samples are also being sent to the laboratory for the analysis of physio chemical parameters.
ANNUAL VEMBANAD FISH COUNT (VFC)
Vembanad Fish Count (VFC) is ana annual participatory fish assessment survey started in May 2008 to understand the fishery and ecological trends in Vembanad. Several institutions and agencies like the Kerala State Biodiversity Board, Department of Fisheries, Alappuzha, Government of Kerala, Directorate of Environment and Climate Change, Government of Kerala., Vembanad Nature Club, and Vembanad Lake Protection Forums are the co-organizers of the event. Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (KUFOS), provides the necessary technical support for the program.
In this program, the fisherfolk of Vembanad share their traditional knowledge to identify problems and solutions, ensuring that the poor and uninformed will not be excluded from decision-making and development opportunities. Such dialogue initiated during the VFC has to lead the fisher community here to organize as Lake Protection Forum (LPF).
VFC is carried out in two steps viz., orientation workshop and participatory fish count. It has brought about critical findings of the ecosystems and suggested constructive comments for maintaining sustainability in the same.
The previous Fish Counts have revealed a steady decline in the diversity of carnivorous fishes and an increase of omnivorous fishes, pointing to the increasing pollution of the lake.
Mandala Plastic cleaning campaign
Mandala season is considered a holy season where people cleanse their mind and body so that one can start a new beginning to his life. So, in 2011 during the same period, ATREE and Vembanad Nature Club initiated the Mandala Plastic Cleaning campaign in Vembanad Lake to clean plastic and other non-degradable materials from the lake so the lake ecosystem can be revived. The campaign is launched among the Fishermen and Clam Collectors of the 13 Lake Protection Forums. According to the clam collectors, it’s a campaign to show their gratitude to the lake which provides their livelihood. This will bring a sense of responsibility to keep the living environment clean. The plastic collected from the lake is used as a foundation for the Panchayat pocket roads.
Land use change studies
The project aimed to monitor the settlements in
the CRZ regions around Vembanad lake in order to understand the effective implementation of CRZ; a critical regulation for wetland conservation in the system. Previously Buildings constructed between 2011 and 2018 were identified using Google Earth Imagery from a temporal analysis between the imagery of this timeframe. 185 buildings were identified in 13 villages that fall under the study. To check whether these buildings violated the coastal regulations, a field survey was conducted using the GPS for the collection of building locations. The information acquired through interaction with the local communities and observation of the study area was collected using the Collect application from Open Data Kit (ODK). Following are the 13 identified villages; Kadakkarapally, Pattanakkad, Kokkothamangalam Cherthala municipality, Pallipuram, Aroor, Ezhupunna, Kodamthuruth, Arookutty,Panavally, Thykkattussery, Elnakulum and Ernakulam.