Dead fish in Shangri-La

All around the world, lakes are in trouble--with fish kills or toxic algae blooms.  Usually, the culprit is excess nutrients washing into the lake.  It's happening even at pristine lakes, long thought to be immune to these problems.

From time to time, I'll feature problems of lakes in a different parts of the world.  The root cause is growing populations and affluence, plus the difficulty of managing thousands of small sources of nutrients.

Indian Kashmir used to be a place people compared to mythical Shangri-La--verdant and unspoiled.  And Nigeen Lake (above), in a green valley surrounded by the Himalayas, is considered by waterways officials to the least polluted waterway in the city of Srinagar (population 1.3 million).

But a few days ago, there was a big fish kill on the lake.  "The fisheries department has attributed the deaths to depletion of oxygen, fluctuation of temperature and flow of untreated sewage into the lake."  Residents say they've never seen anything like this before.  Source

Nigeen Lake--and nearby Dal Lake--have suffered extensive damage over the last two decades, due to discharge of sewage into the lakes, and "encroachment on the borders of the lakes."

Lake Nigeen reminds one of Lake Wingra in Madison, WI--it's about a mile long, located within a city, surrounded by parks and a university.  There are extensive wetlands nearby.

Like L. Wingra, Nigeen is important for tourism, recreation, and the city's image.  And like Wingra, you can see machines out cutting the aquatic plants.  After the fish kill, they used the weed harvesters to clean up the fish (below, right rear).

At least on Wingra, we don't have houseboats.

Many people view Madison--with our beautiful lakes--as the Shangri-La of the Midwest.  But Lake Nigeen shows that even Shangri-La itself needs good watershed management--to stay Shangri-La.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to comment on the article above, or on other watershed issues.