People, Environment

Gorgan Bay Tributaries to Be Dredged to Prevent Desiccation

Gorgan Bay Tributaries to Be Dredged to Prevent DesiccationGorgan Bay Tributaries to Be Dredged to Prevent Desiccation

In a bid to save Gorgan Bay from desiccation, 100 billion rials ($2.8 million) has been earmarked for dredging the Khazini and Chapoghli channels, the main tributaries of the Bay.

Half of the budget was approved following a visit to Golestan Province by First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri and the director of the Management and Planning Organization, Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, two weeks ago. The rest of the funds will be supplied from the provincial budget, IRNA reported.

Speaking on the eve of the National Environment Week (June 4-10), the head of provincial office of the Department of Environment said that once Khazini and Chapoghli are dredged, the waterways will be “unblocked to let water flow into the bay, preventing it from drying up.”

Climate change and prolonged drought along with the blockage of Gorgan Bay’s tributaries have had a destructive impact on the bay over the years, causing the water level to drop by a significant amount, said Esmaeil Mohajer.”Sediment accumulation in Khazini alone has caused the bay’s water to regress by 10 meters,” he added.  

Large sections of Gorgan Bay’s surrounding area are home to a variety of animals, making the water body’s protection all the more crucial.

“Ignoring the bay’s plight will not only cause serious damage to the region’s ecosystems but also create a second crisis like that of Lake Urmia,” Mohajer said, referring to the famous lake in northwestern Iran which now hardly holds 5% of the water it did 20 years ago as a result of climate change and human activities, such as damming its tributaries and failing to uphold its water rights.

The official noted that besides environmental impacts, the drying up of the lagoon will also hit the province’s tourism industry since most of the facilities built on Golestan’s western shores will become useless.

The inflow of wastewater - both household and industrial - into the bay is another problem facing Gorgan Bay, which will have to be addressed.

A rescue committee has been formed by provincial authorities to help address the issues facing the water body, the official said, expressing hope that with the implementation of effective policies and short and long-term plans as well as timely allocation of funds, the destruction of the bay will be prevented.

Astarabad Bay, also known as Gorgan Bay, is a lagoon in the extreme southeastern corner of the Caspian Sea. It is 40 km long and only a few meters deep. It is separated from the Caspian Sea by the Miankaleh Peninsula.