Saturday, June 25, 2016

Tree talk - Kadamba

We are used to regular visitors to Puttenahalli Lake calling up after spotting a new bird but Sapana's call yesterday was about a tree flowering for the first time. This was not any ordinary tree but a Kadamba! With such fond hope we had bought a sapling in July 2010 and planted it at a spot that would allow it to grow tall. Said to be a quick growing tree, ours has taken six years to flower. We rushed to the spot and stood below the Kadamba enthralled at the sight of the soft orange powder puff balls hanging in such large numbers. It is sights like this that make our work so exciting and rewarding. 

The Kadamba (Neolamarckia cadamba) has a wealth of religious and cultural significance attached to it. See these links: 




The photos don't quite do justice to the exquisite flowers. Please visit the lake and see them. Take your children along. This tree is located opposite the island near the fence on the coconut grove side. Its neighbours, a Flame of the Forest and a Gooseberry still have some growing to do before we write about them in Tree Talk. 

If you are observant, you will notice another Kadamba like tree growing on the edge of the water to the right of the island. We did not plant it here and are still puzzled about how a seed could have landed and taken root. We are waiting for it to flower and establish its identity once and for all!  

How didn't we spot the Kadamba flower ourselves? Because we are bogged down with so much work that we often miss the beautiful sights we have created around and in the lake. Many hands make less work. Help us maintain our lovely lake. Become a PNLIT volunteer.

Usha

Saturday, June 11, 2016

A Google reminder

See what I saw when I opened the Google Chrome browser this morning! 
Another year is up!



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Arathi Manay ಆರತಿ ಮಾನೆ

Friday, June 10, 2016

Chunchughatta Lake clean up - 12th June

Want to spend this Sunday morning productively? Chunchughatta Lake calls! 
To know more about this lake that belongs to the Puttenahalli Lake Series of JP Nagar (it is hardly a km away from Puttenahalli Lake, and located behind Brigade Gardenia), read this old article on Citizen Matters here.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Heartfulness Relaxation workshop at Puttenahalli Lake

heartfulness india
‘Heartfulness’ is a path to experiencing your inner self. It is a simple experiential way to learn to open the heart, in order to experience the divinity that is quietly residing in all of us. By tuning into our hearts, we cultivate an inner knowing that wisely directs and guides our lives, helping us face the challenges of life with courage and acceptance.

People from all backgrounds, cultures and faiths around the world benefit by practicing this modern-day form of raja-yoga daily, finding that it brings balance, peace of mind, joy and spiritual growth in their lives. Ongoing support is offered, free of charge, in over one hundred fifty countries.

Please visit the url http://en-in.heartfulness.org/ for more details.

You can experience Heartfulness Relaxation at two workshops that are going to be held at Puttenahalli Lake. Free of cost.

Date: Saturday 11th June and 18th June
Time: 6:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.
Venue: Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar 7th Phase   

For more details, please get in touch with Namrata 9448352200 / namrata.a@gmail.com.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

With Success Comes Responsibility

A dry for years lake finally looks like a proper water body. Ever since we took up the cause of Puttenahalli Lake over seven years ago, this had been one of our goals - to see the entire  lake bed submerged. After a heavy downpour the previous evening, we saw just this. A marvellous sight on on World Environment Day, Sunday 5th June. From one end to the other, from this side to that, there's water, water everywhere at Puttenahalli Lake! 

20th May 2014

6th June 2015

For over a year, excess treated waste water from the STP at South City Apartment Complex is being discharged into the lake. This has percolated and saturated thoroughly the earth below before showing up on the surface. The rain water added to this increasing the level to an unprecedented height. 

While we were taking it all in, total strangers came up to us and expressed their delight. We were elated but what ran in our heads was a new concern, a new challenge - how do we keep the water clean? 

We need to pluck out new shoots of the the alligator weed from the water. Remove at once the plastic bags of Puja offerings and bottles that the insensitive manage to fling over the grill before our guys can stop them.  Yellappa, the fisherman, we had engaged to remove the invasive weeds in April is unable to get workers willing to work in the cold water. By the time the water warms up, would the weeds have grown wild once again? Or will the fish that are thriving, indeed jumping in and out of the water merrily, eat the young shoots quickly enough?

6th June 2016

The rain did not only fill the lake. It also dissolved the nutrients in the water. Unfortunately, on 27th May a sewage chamber on Nataraja Layout had collapsed and the contents had gone straight into the lake gathering along the way all the plastic and trash in the drain. Fortunately, they were contained within the wetland. We had contacted BWSSB immediately and JE Mr. Nagaraj attended to it. By the time he got it repaired, however, sewage had been flooding the wetland for four days and nights. We hoped that the heavy rains over the next few days would dilute the sewage and reduce the damage it can do to the quality of the water. But with the increased level the trash floated higher and higher. The boulders forming the wetland is about seven feet high but now at some points it is less than half a foot above the water.

To make matters worse, the sewage chamber collapsed once again on the night of 5th June! The heavy traffic had not allowed the fresh cement on the new manhole to cure properly. People had removed the obstacles placed on the road and gone over the manhole cover breaking it. As if this is not enough, according to BWSSB Nagaraj, people living on either side of the road diverted the rain water from their homes into the sewage line adding to the load. He got it repaired yet again but this time we were wiser. One of our well wishers, Srinivas Alavilli spoke to the Hulimavu traffic police and got a man posted to divert traffic, With this, we hope that we have solved at least one problem, for the present. 

Now to tackle the danger of the muck flowing over the stones of the wetland into the main lake which we had got cleaned in April with such difficulty. BWSSB was unable to get workers at such short notice. Nor could BBMP. Our two gardeners came to the rescue. Together with the BBMP contractor's man assigned to our lake, Jayanna and Ramu entered the stinky cesspool in a coracle and using long handled rakes pushed the floating garbage to a side from where they brought it out of the water. We paid them for this of course but it was hardly any compensation for the relief it gave us. We'd managed to prevent the bulk of the plastic waste from polluting the lake. Truly, with success comes greater responsibility. 

Sewage overflowing on the road

Trash in wetland

Trash removed from wetland

In our lake chronicles, this is the "low" of having water in the lake. Look out for the exciting "highs" soon to follow!

Usha

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Greetings on World Environment Day

To all our PNLIT friends,

Puttenahalli Lake, May 2016

For many of us, every day is Environment Day. Still, it feels good to see the whole world pause on 5th June every year and focus on raising awareness about environmental issues and concerns.

From the World Environment Day website
"This year's theme for WED – Go Wild for Life – encourages you to celebrate all those species under threat and take action of your own to help safeguard them for future generations. This can be about animals or plants that are threatened within your local area as well as at the national or global level - many local extinctions will eventually add up to a global extinction! Whoever you are, and wherever you live, show zero-tolerance for the illegal trade in wildlife in word and deed, and make a difference."

Some of you may be aware that I am currently not based in Bangalore. I was there recently for the summer holidays and managed a few visits to the lake. It was thrilling, to say the least, to see so much water. Also, I finally got to see some of the birds and flowers at the lake, that I had seen only in photographs shared by others. I spent a fair amount of time watching the beautiful Spot-billed Ducks and took lots of pictures. Some of these are in my blog posts... birds and flowers that may be considered commonplace, but important in the lake ecosystem. For those who have not had a chance to visit the lake, here is some of what you will see when you do.    

Here's hoping that the theme for this year's WED stays with you for ever. Read more on the WED website here

Best wishes,
Arathi
(for the PNLIT Team)
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Arathi Manay ಆರತಿ ಮಾನೆ
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Friday, May 20, 2016

The lake after the May showers

Puttenahalli Lake (Pic: Jaba)

Panoramic view (Pic: Usha Rajagopalan)

Aerial view (Pic: Geetha Balan)

With just two showers, yesterday and the day before, the water level has increased considerably making the lake an absolutely delightful sight. More photos here
Do visit the lake, take photographs and share them with us and all. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Green to Clean

We are delighted to tell you that finally our lake is showing, almost, its true glory! The alligator weed which had covered most of the entire expanse of the water has been removed thanks to funding received from Deloitte Shared Services India Private Limited. 

27-Mar-2016 Before deweeding

18-Apr-2016

Their CSR support enabled us to hire Yellappa and his team of fishermen who began work from 3rd April and completed it on the 20th. They were an excellent group of workers who did not let anything deter them. Not the heat nor the water snakes nor the tangled shoots of the alligator weed which had spread like a large thick sheet over the water. 

Deweeding in progress

Indeed, except for us trustees and a few regular visitors to the lake, almost everyone who spoke to us doubted if there was any water at all in the lake. But little by little the water started to show as the men cut the weed deep down in the water and hauled the strips along for their colleagues to pull onto the land.They piled it along one side of the lake bed which is higher and still dry land. And what huge heaps they made! BBMP helped us dispose these off. They have sent a couple of JCBs to dig deep pits in the lake bed and tractors to fill the pits with the waste. 

We've documented all these through photographs, a selection of which you can see here. Yesterday evening, as if in celebration of Earth Day (22nd April), Yellappa released over 1200 fingerlings in the water. The four species of fish released included the Grass Carp which feeds on aquatic plants. We hope it lives up to its name and keeps the weeds under control. 

22-Apr-2016 Fish being released into the water

It is for the first time since 2009 that the lake has some water at this time of the year. (See here for pictures through the past few years.) This is because rather than depend on the unreliable monsoon, we have treated waste water from South City STP feeding the lake. What a welcome sight it is!     

21-Apr-2016

While we can now breathe easier than in the past few months, our work isn't done yet. We need to ensure that the lake remains free of all invasive aquatic weeds and implement measures to improve the quality of the water. 

It has been a long haul for both the lake and us, trustees, who are driven more by passion than by qualification or prior experience in conservation. We would not have been able to come this far without the help of all our supporters, donors and volunteers. Among many others, we would like to thank especially BBMP (lakes), South City apartment owners' association, Fisheries Dept, and Yellappa and his men. Above all, our heartfelt thanks to Deloitte Shared Services India Private Limited, our CSR Partner in this "Clean Puttenahalli Lake Project". 

- Usha Rajagopalan

Friday, April 8, 2016

The food chain captured

A part of the food chain, captured by Madhurima Das at Puttenahalli Lake this morning. The Purple Swamphen chick was lost to the keen eyes of the Brahminy Kite.



The Brahminy Kite fleeing with its breakfast

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Summer shade

We realize the value of shady trees only when the heat becomes unbearable, as it is these days.

See the walkway at the lake now as against three years ago. The trees on the left are Cassia Javanica, with exquisite flowers.

April 2016

Three years ago

Cassia Javanica (Pic:Vishnupriya Hathwar)