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Anand, Gujarat
         
Agro-ecological Zone : Central Highlands, Gujarat Plain and Kathiawar Peninsula   Project Districts : Anand, Kheda and Vadodara
River basin : Mahi and Sabarmati   Mean Annual Rainfall : 870 mm
Major Soil Types :

Medium and deep clayey black soil and loamy sand (Goradu) soils

  Forest Types : Tropical Dry Deciduous
Major Habitats : Wetlands, Agricultural Lands, Saline-Mudflats, Mangroves and Ravines   Nearest Protected Area : Nalsarovar Bird Sanctuary, Jambughoda Wildlife Sanctuary
Threatened Species : Sarus crane, Black-necked Stork, Hyena   Percentage of Common Lands including Forest : 33%
Percentage of People Living below Poverty Line : 33%   Percentage of Scheduled Castes / Tribes : 22%
Area under Protection : 2145 ha   Village Institutions Associated With : 80
Total Households of Project Villages : 20,113   Indigenous Communities : Nil

Description

In the Anand project area, we are engaged with 80 villages spread across the four districts of Anand, Kheda, Vadodara and Panchmahals in Central Gujarat, and located in the Mahi river basin.

Undulating topography and loose soil structure coupled with an increasing loss of vegetative cover over the years has led to severe ravination in common as well as private lands along the 75-mile long banks of the River Mahi. The adjacent areas along the coast of Khambat are characterized by vast stretches of saline mud flats where increasing salinity threatens the sources of water, and salt-laden winds adversely affect farm productivity. The Anand-Kheda region which reportedly enjoys the highest density of trees in the country is a declared Important Bird Area (IBA), and its six wetlands are known for rich diversity of migratory waterfowl and other bird life. Factors such as diversion of grazing lands to industries, salinity ingress along the coast, and severe anthropogenic pressure on wetlands, have given rise to multiple problems in the region, all of which we aim to address over the coming years.

Using low-cost soil and water conservation measures to support vegetation measures wherever needed, we have assisted local communities in bringing almost 1,146 of hectares of ravine-affected common lands along the Mahi under improved vegetative cover. A sample study on these lands showed that eco-restoration and protection efforts have raised the diversity of plant species from 19 to 72.

Developing vegetative shelterbelts on about 680 hectares on the saline mudflats have helped minimize the impact of salt-laden winds on hitherto unproductive agricultural land in the hinterland. Salinity mitigation efforts have reduced Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in ground water, which was severely contaminated due to salinity ingress, from 5600 to 1574 mg/L.

With NREGA providing a unique opportunity to undertake these tasks, we aim to assist Panchayats and their constituents, government agencies and other key stakeholders, to form a concerned citizen's group to address the issues of land degradation. Working in tandem with the communities, we plan to expand our activities on ravine reclamation along the river, undertake restoration of a shelterbelt along the coast, and initiate steps to promote community conservation of wetlands, so as to mitigate drinking water scarcity and conserve the fragile ecosystems of the region.

 

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