SGF news: Kyzylkum desert project successfully completed in Uzbekistan

SGF news: Kyzylkum desert project successfully completed in Uzbekistan

8 August 2013

 ‘Tudakul and Kuymazar water reservoirs, Western South part of Kyzylkum desert, Uzbekistan: Designation of a new Ramsar site’ (Project code: SGF/09/UZ/01)

With the generous contribution of the government of Sweden, this project helped the ‘State inspection for protection of flora and fauna (Gosbiocontrol)’ (an agency under the State Committee for Nature Protection of the Republic of Uzbekistan) prepare for the designation of the Tudakul and Kuymazar Water Reservoirs as Uzbekistan’s 3rd Wetland of International Importance. One of the main aims of the project was to raise awareness of wetland values and their ecosystem services among decision makers, stake holders, the business sector, and the local community of Tudakul and Kuymazar reservoirs.

The Tudakul and Kuymazar Water Reservoirs are located in the southwestern part of the Kyzlkum Desert (39°51’N 064°50’E centre of largest site), 23 km east of the town of Bukhara. The two wetlands receive water from a tributary of the Amu Darya River. Although Kuymazar is a natural wetland, it is referred to as a reservoir because of its important function of providing drinking water to over a million inhabitants in the Bukhara region, while water from Lake Tudakul is mostly employed in agricultural fields close to the site. The area is known to provide refuge to endangered bird species such as the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) and vulnerable species such as the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus) and the Lesser White-fronted Goose (Anser erythropus).

Field work at the site helped delineate the boundaries of the area to be designated as well as to collect data about its ecological and hydrological characteristics. This included an assessment of the avifauna, fish fauna, and flora and the monitoring of migratory waterbird species, providing information which was compiled in the draft Ramsar Information Sheet for the site.

Meetings were held with regional authorities and management bodies (the Regional Committee for Nature Protection), representatives of the Navoi region and Kyzyltepa district hokimiyat [administration], as well as with small businesses and hunters in the region (Shams-Navoi Ltd, Regional Society of Hunters and Fishermen). These meetings allowed for consultation with stakeholders in the area, to receive their input on the structure and content of a management plan for the site and discuss opportunities for collaboration.

The designation of the Tudakul and Kuymazar Water Reservoirs as a Wetland of International Importance is currently in its final stages, pending the official approval of the government of Uzbekistan.

Photos by Marian Gwilliam, Ramsar