Karnataka Tourism

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Karnataka Travel India

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Location: on the coast of Karnataka State from Coondapur and Gangolli in the south to Karwar in the north
Area: c.20,000 ha
Altitude: Sea level

Description of site: A series of small estuarine systems along 150 km of the Karnataka coast, from Karwar Bay in the north to Gangolli in the south. Fast-flowing rivers descending from the Western Ghats to the Arabian Sea slow down as they reach the coast and spread out into wide estuaries, lagoons, and backwaters with extensive mudflats and many small patches of mangrove forest. The mouths of most of these estuaries and creeks are narrow and permanently open to the sea. In some cases, the width of the mouth has been reduced by sand accretion. Many fish and prawn farms are located in the vicinity of the mangrove areas.

Mangrove forest is particularly well developed in the Kalinadi, Gangivali, and Agnashini estuaries, and at the confluence of the Chakra Nadi, Kollur, and Haladi rivers near Gangolli. Much of the intervening coastline is sandy beach backed by coastal dunes, but there are some short stretches of rocky shore

Climatic conditions: Humid, tropicalmonsoon climate, with an average annual rainfall of 2500 mm. Most of the rainfall occurs during the southwest monsoon, between June and August

Principal vegetation: Estuarine mangrove forest with 14 species of mangrove belonging to seven families. Two main zones are recognised: a moderately saline zone near the coast with sandy, clay substrate, dominated by Avicennia officinalis, A. marina, Kandelia candel, Rhizophora mucronata, and Sonneratia albs; and a mesohaline zone further upstream, dominated by Aegiceras corniculatum, Excoecaria agallocha, K. candel, and Sonneratia caseolaris. Other common mangrove species include Acanthus ilicifolius, Clerodendrum inerme, and Rhizophora conjugate. The backwaters support a variety of algae, including Enteromorpha intestinalis, Chaetomorpha lineum, Monostroma sp., Porphyra vietnamensis, and Gracilaria verrucosa. The coastal sand dune vegetation is dominated by Ipomoea pescaprae, Asparagus dumosus, Spinifex littoreus, Cyperus aristatus, Sporobolus tremulus, Leucas aspera, and Casuarina equisetifolia on the foreshore, and Vitex negundo, Pandanus sp., Durana repens, Anacardium occidentals,

Fauna: The estuaries sustain rich populations of fishes, crustaceans, and molluscs. Species of commercial importance include fishes of the genera Chanos, Mugil, Arius, Gerrus, Ploynemus, Periophthalmus, Caranx, Epinephalus, and Therapon; shrimps of the genera Penaeus, Macrobrachium, Metapenaeus , and Alphaeus; crabs of the genera Uca, Neptunus, and Thalassira; and a variety of clams and oysters The estuaries are known to be of considerable importance for herons and egrets, shorebirds, gulls, and terns, particularly during the migration season and in winter, but few data are available. Over 1930 waterfowl were observed at Gangolli in January 1987, including 270 herons and egrets of six species, 340 Glareola lactea, 240 other shorebirds (mainly Pluvialis squatarola, Charadrius mongolus, Numenius arquata, and Xenus cinereus) and 1080 Larus brunnicephalus

Special floral values: The estuaries contain some of the finest stands of mangrove forest remaining on the west coast of India south of Gujarat

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