Upper Ganges Wetland Biodiversity Maps

A call to take action for wetlands is the focus of this years’ campaign. It’s an appeal to invest financial, human and political capital to save the world’s wetlands from disappearing and to restore those we have degraded.

‘BULANDSHAHR LEGACY’ (www.kalachaupal.org) is an NGO led people action project to protect the natural and built heritage of a Tier B town. Bulandshahr is a district in Uttar Pradesh India and plays host to the Upper Ganges Ramsar site which also spills into the neighbouring districts. We are joined in our efforts by students from Jindal School of Art and Architecture, Sonepat (https://jgu.edu.in/jsaa/) and Shiv Nadar University, Noida (https://shssci.snu.edu.in/).

We would like to gratefully acknowledge our partners and the data collected from WWF and Ramsar Wetlands sites in creation of the maps shown above. Maps 1 – Upper Ganges Wetland Aquatic Biodiversity Map and Map 2 – Upper Ganges Bio Diversity Map.

Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch). 08/11/05; Uttar Pradesh; 26,590 ha; 28°33’N 078°12’E.

This river stretch has high Hindu religious importance for thousands of pilgrims and is used for cremation and holy baths for spiritual purification. Major threats are sewage discharge, agricultural runoff, and intensive fishing. Conservation activities carried out are plantation to prevent bank erosion, training on organic farming, and lobbying to ban commercial fishing.

Ramsar site no. 1574. Most recent RIS information: 2005.

World-wide, disappearance of wetlands is a cause for worry. Wetlands are the vein or arteries of landscapes. Wetlands are unique; they are our living heritage.

“With the ongoing threats from anthropogenic activities these water-bodies are vanishing even at a faster rate. Even though the planet ‘Earth’, is mostly covered by water, but only a fraction is freshwater. Both freshwater resources and freshwater biodiversity declining drastically over the years. Marked by standing water at least during some periods in the year, unique soil conditions and vegetation, they act as an ecotonal boundary between terrestrial and aquatic systems. Because of a wide range of hydrologic conditions, sizes, and locations, a legal definition has become a norm for the protection of wetlands. The ecological significance of wetlands includes the role they play in the global carbon cycle, hydrological cycle, nutrient cycle, trophic interactions, and in maintaining high species diversity. Often called “nature’s kidneys,” wetlands support millions of people through providing food, water, controlling floods and storm surges. With growing population, urbanization, environmental pollution and degradation, and global climate change, urban wetlands are under tremendous pressure.

Dr. Moumita Karmakar
Assistant Professor
Center for Public Affairs and Critical Theory (C-PACT)
School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS)
022 EBlock-B,
Shiv Nadar University
Greater Noida Uttar Pradesh
India 01202662002 Extn: 323



This river stretches up to Narora is sandy and muddy with rich biodiversity. A team of faculty (Shiv Nadar University, Delhi NCR) and students from Jindal School of Art and Architecture, JSAA, OP Jindal University with the help of The Kala Chaupal Trust (NGO), have come forward to prepare the biodiversity maps of The Upper Ganga Ramsar site.

This is a first step to link knowledge with action. Eventually, local community, stakeholders will be involved to take care of their own wetlands and above all the environment. 

FIRST STEP- Identifying the aquatic biodiversity to include IUCN endangered


SECOND STEP- Identifying the larger biodiversity to include birds, flora, fauna and conflict areas

A shallow river stretch of the great Ganges with intermittent small stretches of deep-water pools and reservoirs upstream from barrages.  Major plant species, some of which have high medicinal values, include Dalbergia sissoo, Saraca indica, Eucalyptus globulus, Ficus bengalensis, Dendrocalamus strictus, Tectona grandis, Azadirachta indica and aquatic Eichhorina. 

Large number of factories like sugar, chemicals, fertilizers, engineering, cotton and tanneries are situated on the banks of the river. The discharges from these industries enter the Ganga River directly or indirectly pollute the river to a considerable extent.

The river after passing Bijnor district enters Meerut and Moradabad districts, which are situated in right and left bank of the river, respectively. Brijghat is a religious ghat (or jetty) situated at the right bank. 

The entire river stretch from Bijnor to Narora is shallow with only intermittent small stretches of deep water pools and reservoirs upstream barrages. The banks of the entire river stretch up to Narora are sandy and muddy

Between Brijghat and Narora, both the banks are embanked with boulders to check erosion. The depth varies between 300-362 cm. and transparency ranges between 3-5 cm during monsoon season. 

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