Gavier Lake is situated about 7 km from the buzzing city of Surat in Gavier village, the source of water for nearly 7 villages around it. As it is very near to city and the surrounding areas are developing in to housing colonies this lake has become very important to environmentalists and civic authorities. Once belong to the village, the lake went under the Gujarat Water Supply & Sewerage Board and now under Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC). Till 1990 the wetland housed many migratory and residential water birds. The surrounding areas of the lake had private farms so that birds could take extra advantage. But now most of them have become housing colonies so the birds have only the limited place surrounding the lake. Sources of water to lake are by rain and through a canal from Kakrapar dam. The lake is of one kilometer in circumference.
In 1990 Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board wanted to dig up the lake so that more water is stored in the lake. Nature Club Surat went to the court and put up a stay on the project. The case resolved on the out of court settlement. The Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board made arrangement for the aquatic animals in the nearby lake and the lake was dug a bit to accommodate more water. But as the nature has its own way, the lake collected more sediment in the course of years, making it again a wetland so now there are two lakes.
Members of Nature Club Surat are constant visitors to this place. The water birds of lake are being counted for Asian Water Fowl Census from 1986. It was noticed that the number of Migratory and resident birds were on a decline year after year. So we thought of doing something for the lake. Fund was a great problem. After Mr. Rajan Shah and Suzlon Energy Ltd agreed to sponsor the project, plans were made to fence the lake with chain link to a height of 6 ft and then plant trees like Banyan, Peepal , Umro , Coral etc, which will attract birds and butterflies. Necessary permissions were obtained from the Gujarat Water Supply and Sewerage Board and the village panchayat . We got the permission on 6th June 2003.
Clearing the periphery started in the month of March 2004. The place was covered with thorny shrubs and trees ( gando baval ). The fencing work was over by May. On 5th June ‘World environment day’ tree plantation was started. The lake has on an average 20 ft of land between the waterfront and the fence. Volunteers of Nature Club Surat visit the lake each Sunday to plant trees and water them. In 2004 we planted 500 trees. A full time watchman is employed to prevent the fencing being robbed and to keep the fisherman and bird trappers out. Now we have more than 3,000 trees and each year the number increases. Gando Baval is thinned according to the necessarily so that the green cover is maintained.
The result of the work started showing in the coming months itself. Birds and butterflies made their presents felt. Month of September 2004 we check listed 74 different birds against 38 in 2003. Nesting birds increased many folds from nearly nil last year. From June 2004 to September 2004 we have spotted the nests of Baya , Paradise Flycatcher, Plain Wren Warbler, Bronze-winged Jacana, Pheasant-tail Jacana, Purple moorhen, Purple Heron, Red-vented bulbul, Red Munia , White-throated Munia , Golden Oriole, Black Drongo , Asian Peafowl, White-breasted Waterhen , Great Indian Reed Warbler, and many more. All the nests were successful and the fledging flew away in the right time, making the NATURE CLUB SURAT members proud for their work.
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