Save Rupa Lake

Save Rupa: Rupa Will Save You



                   A community initiative to conserve biodiversity of Rupa Lake   Executive summary: The project ‘Save Rupa: Rupa will save you’ is a local youth-led initiative to conserve the biodiversity of Rupa lake. Due to the various human activities like fisheries, chemical fertilizer in Khetfield (Paddy field) and due to large catchment area, sedimentation is high in inlet portion of the lake.The project aims to conserve the bio-diversity of Rupa lake and conservation of itmaintaining the livelihood opportunity of the local people. This project will integrate all the community people, stakeholders, community groups to create a social capital to manage and conserve the Rupa Lake. Background: Rupa lake is the third biggest lake in Kaski district among the 9 other lakes and is located about 16 km east of the Pokhara. It is situated at an elevation about 600 m msl with an area of 115 hectares and average 3 m depth. Dhovankhola is the feeder stream with its outlet Tal khola at Sistani ghat, joining the SetiGandaki. The lake is rich in biodiversity and has cultural value for the locals. It harbors 450 different species of flora and fauna. A total of 36 species of water-birds have been recorded in the lake which represents about 19 percent of the total 193 wetland-dependent birds found in Nepal (Oli, 1996). Rupa is the only lake in the Kaski district to have a population of Common Kingfishers. A temple named Barahi is located in the central part of the eastern side of the lake. Major festivals are celebrated here and the celebration brings people together from surrounding areas and abroad. Activities such as Bratabandha (Pabitra thread ceremony) are celebrated throughout the year. Several species of trees are said to be of religious importance in the area, along with the rare White Lotus. Rupa is considered a sacred lake. The lake is under pressure from diverse anthropogenic factors. Due to large catchment area, sedimentation is high in inlet portion of the lake via DhovanKhola. Soil erosion, landslides, roadside cuttings and agricultural intensification are the major causes and sources of sediment generation. The quality of the lake water is being gradually degraded due to increasing use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in the upstream areas. Water birds of Rupa Lake face a number of threats including trapping/hunting, fish farming using nets, habitat destruction by soil erosion and sedimentation. Siltation is a major problem for Rupa Lake and means that the lake is becoming shallower by the day. If this trend were to continue, this lake might disappear over time. Fish farming in the lake using nets through Rupa Lake Rehabilitation and Fisheries Cooperative causes enormous disturbance to the birds even though fishery has enormously supported the livelihoods of local people. Water Hyacinth (Eichhorniacrassipes) – called Jalakumbhi has rapidly covered the water surface of the shore and outlet portion of the lake reducing the feeding areas for ducks and other water birds, though local community have periodically removed it from the lake. The extracted Water Hyacinths are deposited at the lake shore periodically, but they flow back to the water body in the rainy season.  People living around the lake depend on the lake and the surrounding wetlands for their daily livelihoods. Human activities and siltation have threatened the health and existence of the lake, as well as people’s livelihoods. Therefore, conservation education and awareness programs are essential for local farmers, students, fishing community and visitors to the lake. Agricultural fertilizer application practices should be changed to minimize inputs to the lake. The Local farmers should be discouraged from farming practices that involve encroaching on the wetland area. The initiative ‘Save Rupa: Rupa will save you’ aims to educate local people about the cause and effect of human activities on lake. It further aims to integrate all the stakeholders of the community and engage them for a meaningful conservation about Rupa lake preservation. , Our project will achieve its goals in the long run by applying an integrated approach of creating social capital, investing for conservation and creating knowledge hub. This initiative will emphasize on the partnership, ownership and involvement of local people. Local people, local youth clubs, cooperatives, lake conservation group, school management team, mother’s group and other stakeholders will be the beneficiaries and benefactor of this initiative.Facts about Rupa - 2,000 – 3,000 internal tourists visit the lake each year, along with 400 – 500 foreigners. - The annual Rupa festival, organized by Saptarangi Youth Club, attracts thousands more visitors. - 200-300kg of fish caught per day and sold at the market. Fishing on the lake also serves 345 households. (ref – Stratford 2007) - Various large Carp species introduced and bred in cage culture. - There are eight enclosures in the lake covering16.2 ha area with a total yield of 10425 kg of fish per year. - The women’s group collects White Lotus seeds. In 2006, 6000 NR worth of seeds were sold. - Some wetland area is given to the local school for education and food production. Any produce harvested helps to pay for teachers and resources. Whilst 95.5% of people are employed in agriculture, the other 4.5% are employed in the services industry. - The majority of farmers have some form of irrigation. Most Khetlands of the villages are irrigated by kulo, a local method. The majority of irrigation systems are community-managed, and only some wealthy farmers have private systems. Saptarangi Youth Club: We as a local youth club have been organizing lake festivals, community-led campaigns for sanitation, and awareness campaigns. We, local youth, having indigenous knowledge to manage the local resources deserve skills to run this initiative. Furthermore, we are a leading youth club which has a good partnership and trust with local people. Our previous activity includes: 1. Regular sanitation program 2. Removing theJalakumbhi Rupa lake 3. Organizing Volleyball 4. Royal Trek Maintenance program Thus, we have capacity and community support to run this initiative. Project funding: Previous project was a community-led initiative. The fund was generated by organizing cultural activities like Deusi, Bhailo and cultural performances at community houses that had auspicious ceremonies. Another contribution from the community was Jhara (voluntary labor contribution by community people) and individual donation. The community was involved in voluntary labor for sanitation, road building and organizing festival. Since we plan on increasing our coverage and making this long-term, we need the seed money for project continuation. We need about Rs.100000 (One lakh) NRs for this project. 7. About the Club: Name: Saptarangi Youth Club Location: Talbesi (Rupa lake) Type: Community-based Club Saptarangi Yuwa Club is a community based club established in 2001. It has been working in the community development, culture and nature conservation and organizing various festival (Mela). It has 60 youth members Contact Person: Bhagawan Thapa- president-- 9846185827 ShukBahadur Gurung- Secretary- 9806541486


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