Climate change has become the most significant threats to coastal areas, posing serious harm to both the coastal ecosystem as well as coastal communities. The climate change impacts on the coastal zone includes increase in sea surface temperatures, increase in rain fall intensity, rising sea levels, increase in intensity of cyclones and storm surges. This in turn will impact the ecosystem and health of the dependent communities. The key coastal habitats such as mangrove, wetland, seagrass, estuary and coral reefs are of high importance for their functions and services like carbon management potential and increase of resource productivity for livelihood to dependent communities. They are vital for the food security of coastal communities in developing countries, providing nurseries and fishing grounds for artisanal fisheries. Hence considering all those effects it is mandatory to undertake this kind of project to build resilience among coastal ecosystems and communities through habitat recovery and improvement and sustainable livelihood development. Under the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change, the captioned project is implementing successfully with a positive outcomes.
The Project “Management and rehabilitation of coastal habitats and biodiversity for Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Livelihood in Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu, India” was approved by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, Government of India, under the Grants-in-Aid component of the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) and administrative approval has been issued in F.No.16/28/2015-CC, GoI, MoEF&CC, Climate Change Division dated 31.12.2015, at a total cost of Rs. 24.74 crores to be implemented in four years.
Baseline survey: The baseline data will provide the basis for adaptation planning and implementation of the restoration and rehabilitation activities and also the eco development activities. Coral reef rehabilitation and Artificial Reef deployment: Both the rehabilitated reefs and the artificial reefs will not only increase the biodiversity in the area, but will also protect the islands from erosion and submergence due to sea level rise. Further, these areas will provide sustained livelihoods for fishermen. Sea grass rehabilitation: The rehabilitation of sea grass ensures habitat creation for several corals, fish and associated species which will lead to protection of islands against the impacts of climate change. Eco-development adaptation activities: Climate change induced impacts such as sea level rise, coastal erosion are a constant threat to fishermen communities, therefore promoting an alternate source of income will ensure a steady income and an improved standard of living among the local communities. Through this project, the Coastal community can adapt effectively to overcome climate change impacts.
The project carried out the Climate Change Vulnerability studies of coastal communities and ecosystems along the 364.9 kms line of Kariachalli & Vilanguchalli Islands of Gulf of Mannar. Coral and Sea Grass Rehabilitation was carried out in 4.0 sq.kms degraded reef and sea grass habitat. Coral fragments of diverse native corals (8-11 cm size) were extracted from the donor coral reefs and tied with rope to the cement slabs (20 cm x 5 cm x 1.5 cm) which were deployed under water. About 6000 Nos. of Artificial Reef modules of Ferro-cement and Reinforcement Steel (each of the size 2.5m width, 2m height and 1m longitudinal length) were deployed near Vaan Island. More than 25 village specific activities viz., infrastructure development, alternate livelihood activities, ecotourism activities, provision of micro-credit revolving funds, and nurturing of SHGs, etc., were undergoing in 23 coastal villages. The project work is nearing completion.
As per the design plan given by IIT Madras, a total of 6000No.s of A.R modules was deployed. The project proponents were completed the deployment of all the 3600 no. of modules in the Vann Island (2.5m width and 1m longitudinal length) and one meter Artificial Reef module of 2400No.s deployment work has also been completed. Monitoring work is under progress.
Coral and Seagrass Rehabilitation was carried out in 4.0 sq.kms degraded reef and seagrass habitat. A total of 1215 out of 1200 numbers of concrete frames and 12150 out of 12000 numbers of slabs with coral fragments (additional 15nos of concrete frames with 150nos of slabs were also included) have been transplanted at Kariyachalli and Vilanguchalli Island. Both the Coral and Seagrass transplantation work of each 2.0 sq.kms in both the island is over and the monthly monitoring work is under process.
Survey and assessment of Climate change Vulnerability to climate change of coastal communities in Gulf of Mannar was carried out between Ramnathapuram to Kanyakumari district village level. Vulnerability Assessment was completed and final report has been submitted. Biodiversity baseline survey was completed for seven out of ten zones. Assessment of fishing pressure and the need assessment of the communities work was completed and final report is under scrutiny. Socio economic vulnerability assessment of the coastal community work has been completed and the final report was submitted.
Alternative livelihood Tailoring training and various awareness program has been conducted in and around the project site. Under infrastructure component, construction of two net mending sheds was completed. Under Alternative Training on livelihood scheme consultative meeting had been conducted with Institute of Industrial Marine and safety (IIMS) and certificate course on Marine and Safety to the fisher folk Youth of 30 numbers were completed. Cage culture training was completed with CMFRI Institute Thoothukudi. Basic tailoring and Aari Jardoshi training were also completed in different zones. Training on Jute and fabric bags has been performed. Revolving fund has been utilized by different Self Help Groups under eco-development component.