On August 3, 2012, floodwaters devastated the valley of the Assi Ganga River, in India. The floods killed or removed all trout from the main river. The remaining fish, found only in Lake Dodital, in the Himalyan mountains, are the lone survivors of original stocking done in 1862 by British sportsmen. The fish are genetically valuable and essential to the recovery of the valley. Lake Dodital is considered to be the birthplace of the Hindu God Ganesh. It is a pristine, alpine lake nested at 10,000 ft. near the source of the Assi Ganga.
This Sunday, fourteen Christchurch students led by CCS Chaplain John Alter and Great Journeys Watershed Coordinator Dave Cola embarked on a four-week trip to India. Not merely tourists, the Christchurch students will be fully immersed throughout the trip. They will conduct stream surveys, document wildlife, compare the impact of industrialization in America to that of India, become familiar with issues surrounding sustainability and environmental protection in northern India, enjoy homestays in Agora, learn about Hinduism, go whitewater rafting, study the economics of conservation, learn about the challenges of protecting the iconic and endangered tiger, and take an elephant-back safari into the Reserve Forest.
In what is perhaps the most crucial part of the trip, CCS students will be instrumental in jumpstarting the natural repopulation of the Assi Ganga River. They will conduct a basic survey of Lake Dodital in order to identify the best collection locations for the restocking project. They will catch and collect sample fish, and analyze depth information, scouting access and collection issues. They will then collect fish from the lake at Dodital and safely transport them to prime locations of the river, chosen through water testing, for breeding and growing. Because of their efforts, fish will not need to be brought in from outside hatcheries, and the genetic line of the fish can be maintained for generations to come.
To follow the travelers and learn more, please follow our blog, “Follow our India Journey.”