Wetlands for the future

Jagadishpur Reservoir, a Ramsar Site of Nepal

Project title: Improving livelihoods and enhancing biodiversity through participatory restoration and management of Jagadishpur Ramsar Site in Nepal

Location: Jagadishpur Ramsar Site, Kapilvastu District, Nepal

Duration: 2015 – 2017

Project background: Among the nine Ramsar sites of Nepal, Jagadishpur Reservoir is the largest man-made wetland site with great ecological and economic significance. The reservoir was constructed in 1972 for irrigation purposes and declared a Ramsar Site on 13 August 2003. It supplies water for irrigation to 6,700 households in 6,200 hectares of surrounding cultivated land. The water body has great potential for commercial stocking and production of fish.

Jagadishpur Ramsar Site is one of the major habitats of migratory birds

The reservoir provides shelter for an assemblage of some rare, endangered species of birds like Indian sarus crane (Grus antigone), Asian openbill stork (Amastomus oscitans), woolly-necked stork (Ciconia episcopus) and various other stork species. The reservoir is surrounded by cultivated land, and a few smaller lakes serve as a buffer zone for the movement of birds. It is also declared as one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) of Nepal.

However, even though the wetland has ecological and economic significance, it has been facing several environmental threats such as sedimentation, unmanaged harvesting of resources and encroachment of invasive species. There are also socio-economic issues such as poverty, inadequate awareness on the value and function of the wetland ecosystem and overdependence of communities on wetlands due to a lack of other livelihood alternatives.

To tackle these issues, IUCN is implementing a project to improve the livelihoods of wetland-dependent local people through the introduction of income generating activities, and through better biodiversity management practices of the Jagadishpur wetland system.

Objectives of the project: The overall objective of the project is to restore and enhance wetland ecosystems and local livelihoods through the sustainable management and governance of wetland resources in Nepal. The specific objectives are:

  • Support income generating activities for local communities, particularly women, poor, Dalit and other marginalised populations, in order to reduce the pressure and potential over-exploitation of the wetland system
  • Strengthen the capacity of concerned government agencies as well as local communities and organisations to effective manage the wetland 
  • Safeguard the ecological character of the area, so that it provides long-term value to people, and long-term habitat for endangered species, as a result of the local community’s stewardship
  • Document the results and lessons learned, including the approach and process adopted, in order to encourage and foster effective wetland management practices across all wetlands in Nepal, and to share the results widely within and outside Nepal

Expected outputs:

  • Enhanced livelihoods through the promotion of eco-tourism and income generation activities 
  • Enhanced institutional capacity of government agencies and local community organisations related to wetland management 
  • Improved environmental management with a focus on improved water quality and health of the overall ecosystem, biodiversity, wetland and agricultural production with the active participation of local communities
  • Results and major learning of the project documented and shared widely within and outside of Nepal

Donor: Government of Norway through the Ramsar Convention Secretariat

Partners: Department of Forests through District Forest Office, Kapilvastu; and Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation 

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