Nandur Madhmeshwar wetland in Niphad tahsil of Nashik district is declared as 'Ramsar site' by 'The International Ramsar Convention on Wetlands'. This wetland becomes Maharashtra's first as Ramsar sites and is number 2410 in the list. As of now, 37 sites in India have been declared as sites of international importance.
Nine other wetlands in India were also declared by the Convention as Ramsar sites on January 27, days ahead of International Wetlands Day on February 2. Ramsar Convention is a contract among 90 countries aiming at conserving wetlands across the world. It was signed at Ramsar in Iran in 1971 and became operational in 1975.
The advantages of being declared as 'Ramsar site' are that it will help in conservation and wise use of the wetland, receive national and international cooperation for conservation and management, receive Central funding, boost tourism. It will also generate employment for locals and bring economic benefits for surrounding areas due to increased tourism and create awareness for conservation of other wetlands in the state, the note says.
Speaking to a publication, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Nitin Kakodkar said that, "Nandur Madhmeshwar wetland has been formed by shallow backwaters of Nandur Madhmeshwar dam and is known as Maharashtra's Bharatpur. It lies in the 100 sq km Nandur Madhameshwar sanctuary formed in 1986."
According to a note of the Forest Department, Nandur Madhameshwar has measured up to the seven out of nine criteria set for recognition by the Ramsar Convention.
These are “rare species and threatened ecological communities, biological diversity, support during critical lifecycle stage or in adverse conditions, more than 20,000 water birds, more than one percent waterbird population of one species or sub-species of water birds, significant and representative fish and fish spawning ground".
Nandur Madhameshwar boasts of threatened plants like 3 Indian sandalwood, threatened birds like Indian Spotted Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Common Pochard, Bristled Grass Bird, Wooly-necked stork, White-rumped vulture, Indian vulture, and Egyptian vulture, threatened fish Deolali Minnow and mammal like leopard.
As for biological diversity, the wetland houses 536 species of aquatic and terrestrial plants, eight mammal species, 265 bird species, 24 freshwater fish species and 41 butterfly species. It supports migratory birds species by serving as a wintering and stopover site and as a breeding site for resident birds.
It has more than one per cent population of Common Pochard, White Stork, Common Crane, Eurashian Spoonbill and Glosdy Ibis bird species. Among fish, the wetland has Butter catfish, Deolali minnow, Slender rasbora, Novacula razorbelly minnow and globally threatened species Shalini barb.