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Great knots & Indian skimmers: Dredging activity halted at Kakinada coast due to possible threat to the species

  • IASbaba
  • June 8, 2020
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Great knots & Indian skimmers: Dredging activity halted at Kakinada coast due to possible threat to the species

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Environment; Biodiversity

In News:

  • The Forest Department has directed GMR Energy Limited to stop dredging activity in the Kumbabhishekham mudflat with immediate effect. 
  • It has also ordered the removal of the bund around the mangrove cover on the Kakinada coast, Andhra Pradesh. 
  • The decision was taken after taking into account the threats to the mudflat and the mangrove cover and destruction of the prime habitat of birds — endangered Great knots (Calidris tenuirostris) and vulnerable Indian skimmers (Rynchops albiocollis).

Important value additions 

Great knots

  • The great knot (Calidris tenuirostris) is a small wader. 
  • It is the largest of the calidrid species
  • These birds forage (search for food) on mudflats and beaches, probing or picking up food by sight. 
  • They mainly eat molluscs and insects.
  • It is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.
  • Their breeding habitat is tundra in northeast Siberia
  • They are strongly migratory wintering on coasts in southern Asia through to Australia. 
  • IUCN status: Endangered 

Image source: Click here 

Indian skimmers

  • It (Rynchops albicollis) is one of the three species that belong to the skimmer genus Rynchops in the family Laridae. 
  • It is found in southern Asia, where it is patchily distributed and declining in numbers. 
  • They are mainly found in rivers or estuaries
  • They are very brightly marked in black, white and orange, making them difficult to miss. 
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable 

Image source: Click here 

Dredging 

  • It means clearing the bed of (a harbour, river, or other area of water) by scooping out mud, weeds, and rubbish with a dredge.
  • It can create disturbance to aquatic ecosystems, often with adverse impacts. 
  • Dredge spoils may contain toxic chemicals that may have an adverse effect on the disposal area. 
  • It often dislodges chemicals residing in benthic substrates and injects them into the water column. 

Image source: Click here 

Mudflats 

  • They are coastal wetlands that form in intertidal areas where sediments have been deposited by tides or rivers. 
  • A recent global analysis suggested they are as extensive globally as mangroves.
  • They are found in sheltered areas such as bays, bayous, lagoons, and estuaries.

Image source: Click here 

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