Friday, May 31, 2013

Planting on 1st June 2013

As part of phase 2 of shrub planting, we have got 379 saplings from Lal Bagh. These are butterfly attracting plants such as Hamelia patens, powder puff, ixora, cup & saucer, nerium oleander, plumbago, lantana, etc. Pics below.

Please volunteer to plant them tomorrow 1st June, morning from 7 a.m.

Pits have been dug within the inner grill for these shrubs which will be maintained to a height of about 3 feet in order to deter trespassers from entering the water. 

Last Saturday our volunteers had planted 70 saplings of Vitex negondu along the Brigade Millennium - Arekere road fence.

The next round of planting may happen, if at all, only in Aug. Don't miss this opportunity to plant these beautiful flowering shrubs in 14 varieties. Come back and revel in the sight of butterflies flocking to the shrubs you had planted!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Volunteers needed for planting on 25th May 2013

Tomorrow we will begin the first phase of planting shrubs chosen specially for their ability to attract butterflies and small birds. We intend to plant Vitex Negundo along the fence on the Brigade Millennium-Arekere Road. We are planting Vitex to also block out the traffic noise on this busy road! :-) 

One of our regular volunteer gardeners, Vinay, has kindly agreed to coordinate the planting which will begin at 7 a.m. sharp. The pits are already dug and ready to receive the plants. FYI, only 57 saplings are to be planted tomorrow.

Give Vinay a helping hand and use the opportunity to see the fresh water in the lake! You may also spot the Spot-billed Ducks and Pied Wagtail in the photos taken yesterday evening by Nirupama Sriram.

Spot-billed Ducks


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Our lake of dreams coming true

Based on a total station survey done by Enzen Global in Aug. 2011, PNLIT got the BBMP to install a  new diversion channel (DC) to harvest surface run off from the Brigade Millennium road into the lake. After some unavoidable delays, complicated government procedures, worker issues, etc. the major DC work was finally completed a month ago.

The intermittent drizzle over the past couple of weeks indicated that the DC could work but we were not sure just how well it would till the downpour last night. Glimpses of the lake lit by lightning last night were exciting, raising our hope that we tried so hard to suppress! Doesn't the brightest idea in the dark of the night seem drab in the morning? But this was not an idea. This was reality. Our DC was working and how!

23rd May 2013 (Pic: Prashant Agrawala)

Catching the first rays of the morning sun, the water glittered here, there, almost everywhere. Yes! Our Puttenahalli lake finally seemed like a lake (to quote trustee OP Ramaswamy)! This, despite the fact that the DC work is not fully complete. The BBMP is yet to replace the concrete slabs beneath the Brigade Millennium arch with a grating that would enable even more water from the road to enter the lake. We hope they will do it within a week for then the inflow will be several times more than yesterday's.

Rain water flowing from South City

Force eroded lake slope

From the new diversion channel like a waterfall

Other views

Birds are back already!

With prediction of a "normal" monsoon, we are confident that the dismal sight of a puddle in the lake even yesterday evening can be forgotten at last. The only blessing our Puttenahalli Lake will need is from the Rain God, not from an STP. 

With this, one of our dreams came true last night. Many more are still to be realized but at this point, we'd like to thank the BBMP for installing the DC, Contractor Harish for doing such a good job despite being skeptical about it functioning, to Enzen for giving us the hope two years ago that we could fill the lake with rain water. Thanks too to all our friends, supporters, volunteers and donors. Together we make a great team! 


More pictures taken by OP Ramaswamy can be seen here.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Bangalore Lake Diaries

Bangalore was once called the city of a 1000 lakes. Over time, we lost most of our lakes to urbanization, sewage dumping, encroachment and rapid development. 

Bangalore Lake Diariesa community film made by The Alternative and Korkai chronicles the pioneering lake conservation efforts undertaken by the city to combat the water crisis by preserving its only freshwater source - lakes.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Happy announcement for nature lovers

On the floor of the Tamil Nadu Assembly the Tamil Nadu CM announced the formation of Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (Tamil Nadu) yesterday. This is great news indeed for the Melagiri region. A dream come true for many a conservationist.

The contiguous forests of Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri Districts consisting of several reserve forests and riverine, hilly and plateau regions are commonly referred to as the Melagiri Region. The forest extends for nearly 2500 sq. km of the Eastern Ghats, and of this, about 1500 sq km constitutes Melagiri. In fact our Bannerghatta National Park forms the Northern tip of Melagiri, and Cauvery River beyond Mekadatu and up to Hogenekal (nearly 60 kms)  are also part of Melagiri.

About 500 sq km along the Cauvery River has been designated as a sanctuary. Melagiris is contiguous with the Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary of Karnataka. To be precise - one bank of the river falls under Karnataka while the other bank belongs to Tamil Nadu.

'Sanctuary' status was a much needed thing as this will ensure the kind of protection that is required to protect the several Endangered, Vulnerable and Near Threatened species of birds and animals. Melagiri is home to elephants, bears, leopards, gaur, sambar, chital and many more smaller animals and birds. Up until the late 70s tigers were seen.

This region has been plundered by all kinds of smugglers and poachers for a very very long time, including the infamous Veerappan.  Sandalwood and elephant tusks were the main target along with several other trees and all kinds of animals. The tiger was completely wiped out due to several reasons including poaching, lack of prey species (which were hunted and snared) and human invasion.

Hopefully this announcement of converting a part of the Melagiri from 'Reserve Forest' to 'Sanctuary' should ensure the much needed protection for the surrounding forest of Melagiri. A special thanks to Kenneth Anderson Nature Society (KANS) which relentlessly pursued the Tamil Nadu government to designate the region as a 'Sanctuary'. Though only a part of the region has been designated as one, it is the first step towards conserving the whole extent of the Melagiris.

This is only a beginning and a lot must be done to safeguard this jewel of a region that has been neglected for a very long time now. Elephants use this as an important corridor to move along the Eastern Ghats and towards the Niilgiri Biosphere which is quite a long way from the Cauvery.

One can also get to see a part of the Melagiri when driving beyond Hosur and it goes on for a long distance and up to Salem almost. Unfortunately the Highway beyond Hosur  has cut through the Eastern Ghats, thus cutting off the migratory root of the elephants and other larger herbivores. In the recent past a herd of 17 elephants crossed the highway and went on to go towards and across the Andhra border.  Eventually these elephants were driven back (though they reckon some more are there on the other side).

Trustee, PNLIT and Founder Member, KANS

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