Anzali Wetland rehabilitation plan to start next year

July 7, 2020 - 17:59

TEHRAN – Rehabilitation of Anzali Wetland is a priority and its implementation will start in the next Iranian calendar year (March 2021-March 2022) and will take 10 years to be completed, Masoud Baqerzadeh Karimi, the director of aquatic ecosystems at the Department of Environment (DOE) said.

The most urgent problem that must be solved in Anzali Wetland is the invasive species of common water hyacinth, he stated, ISNA reported.

He went on to explain that common water hyacinth is a dangerous invasive plant that grows rapidly in the wetland and is now our only way to counteract is the physical removal of the plant, adding, this invasive plant speeds up water evaporation 13 times and poisons the environment and creates competition for survival among native species.

With huge sediments accumulated in Anzali Wetland, a plan proposed using domestic bioremediation BioGME technology; but some expressed worries about the technology as being carcinogenic or posing a threat to aquatic species and we decided not to use it, he stated.

So we have a new plan, through which, an eco-friendly approach with two important features will be implemented, including cross-sectoral cooperation that involves all stakeholders in reviving the wetland, he said.

According to Baqerzadeh Karimi, the 10-year revival program will be implemented next year after approval by the National Headquarters of Wetlands. Also, Gilan University will cooperate with the DOE as a consultant to provide scientific support.

Our goal in reviving wetlands is to involve responsible bodies, such as the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Interior, with a strategy to preserve wetlands, which cannot be achieved except within the framework of the national cooperation, he added.

Covering more than 19,000 hectares, Anzali Wetland is located near the northern port city of Bandar Anzali, neighboring the Caspian Sea. The wetland was designated as a Ramsar site on June 23, 1975. It is fed by several rivers and separated from the Caspian Sea by a dune system. The lagoon is home to submerged and floating vegetation and also extensive reed beds. It bears international importance in terms of breeding, staging, and wintering waterbirds.

While dams have contributed to human development by providing reliable sources of drinking water and irrigation, hydropower, recreation, navigation, and income, they also can cause considerable damages to the rivers, or deplete fisheries, and alter recreational opportunities.

The lagoon has been listed in Ramsar Convention since December 21, 1975.

Anzali Wetland has suffered huge sediment and sludge accumulation due to the entrance of domestic and agricultural sewage of five surrounding cities, which resulted in a decrease in the wetland’s depth and capacity along with threatening biodiversity.

One of the most important concerns regarding Anzali Wetland is a constant drop in depth which was 11 meters before while shrinking to 1 meter or even 50 centimeters in recent years.

According to a report published by the University of Tehran in the Iranian calendar year 1395 (March 2016-March 2017), the amount of sediment accumulated in Anzali Wetland is usually 1 to 7 millimeters per year.

If the average sedimentation rate is three millimeters, one meter should be reduced from the depth of the wetland every 30 years, while the wetland’s depth has decreased by 3 meters in the past 30 years.

Undeniably, human involvement has led to such a situation in Anzali Wetland.

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