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Under the National Wetland Conservation Programme, 68 sites have been identified for conservation in the country, 41 being recently added to the conservation List including 35 mangroves, 4 coral areas and 10 urban lakes. Identification of these wetlands sites is based on Ramsar criteria which include aspects of waterfowl population, domains of various plant/animal species, biodiversity values, cultural aspects, religious and sacred sanctities, socio-economic aspects, sustainable fisheries, traditional knowledge and other such issues. Furthermore, in the proposed National Wetland Strategy, a great deal of emphasis has been given to significance of wetlands for water supply, coastal protection, food security and livelihood improvements of the wetland people.

The newly designated sites have very special features in terms of their ecological character, uniqueness, and rich aquatic communities. Some of these wetlands also have had high religious and socio-cultural values for thousands of years. Therefore, perception of the local communities towards the wise use of these wetlands is likely to be enhanced by the confluence of cultural, religious, ecological and socio-economic importance for sustenance of livelihoods and ecosystems.

In Uttar Pradesh, upper Ganga River (Brigghat to narora stretch) has been designated as a Ramsar site effective from 8th November, 2005.

Upper Ganga River (Brijghat to Narora Stretch). 08/11/05; Uttar Pradesh; 26,590 ha; 280 33’N 0780 12’ E. A shallow river stretch of the great Ganges with intermittent small stretches of deep-water pools and reservoirs upstream from barrages. The river provides habitat for IUCN red listed Ganges River Dolphin, Gharial, Crocodile, 6 species of turtles, otters, 82 species of fish and more than hundred species of birds. Major plant species, some of which have high medicinal values, include Dalbergia sissoo, Saraca indica, Eucalyptus globulus, Ficus bengalensis, Dendrocalamus Strictus, Tectona grandis, Azadirachta indica and aquatic Eichhorina. This river stretch has high Hindu religious importance for thousands of pilgrims and is used for cremation and holy baths for spiritual purification. Major threats are sewage discharge, agricultural runoff, and intensive fishing. Conservation activities carried out are plantation to prevent bank erosion, training on organic farming and lobbying to ban commercial fishing. Ramsar site on. 1574.