In this study, the impact of the mining on the quality of the river water up to a distance of about 35 km downstream of the
mine~ is examined. Two critical flow scenarios are relevant from point of view of water quality. One, the low flow scenario
which occurs during the non-monsoon season, when the stream flows are mainly due to base flow, and two, the high-flow scenario
which occurs during the monsoon season when a major contribution to the stream flow is from surface runoff. Sediment wash
from the mine area will be high during the high flow period, while concentration of some critical pollutants could be high
during the low flow period because of poor dilution potential of the streams. Also, the effectiveness of the two pollution
control dams in arresting the sediment wash from the runoff is very critical from the view point of sediment depositions along
the Bhadra river, downstream of the mining area.
Since this study was commissioned only in August 2000 and the time of
completion of the study was specified to be January 2001, data on water quality and sediment flows during the monsoon months
of June, July and August 2000 could not be collected. This is a major limitation of the present study, because these data
are very critical during the monsoon months. The effectiveness of the pollution control dams to arrest the silt from flowing
into the streams can also be examined only during the monsoon period when the high intensity of rainfall results in a significant
rate of siltation. The earlier longer term study conducted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, NEERI
(2000), which extended through the monsoon months, also surprisingly did not consider the data during the monsoon periods,
and thus that study also suffers from the same limitation as the present study.
For the impact studies on water quality
to be meaningful, at least one set of data each during pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon seasons should be collected and
analysed, which could not be done in our present, short-term study. The data collected in our study corresponds to the post-monsoon,
low flow period only. Our study also took place at a time when the KIOCL mining operations had halted temporarily because
of a pipeline burst that had to be repaired. These major limitations have to be kept in mind when the results of the analysis
and interpreted and conclusions drawn from them.
(Page 12 of the CES report)
5. Since in the present study sampling
could be made only during post-monsoon period, data made available from the earlier studies (NEERI, 2000) can also reviewed.
These earlier studies consider data pertaining to more than one season. It is noted that the surface waters at locations where
mine discharges reach Bhadra river have concentrations in excess of the limits specified by the standards during the immediate
post-monsoon season. A reduction in the concentration is noticed at many sampling locations during the winter and summer seasons.
The general trend is that higher concentrations of Iron occur during post-monsoon with reductions in the later seasons, and
this trend is similar at many observed surface water sampling locations. This indicates a possibility of much higher concentrations
of Iron in surface water during the beginning of monsoon in comparison to post-monsoon observations. It is also observed from
the NEERI studies that, the concentrations of Iron are high in the overflow from the Pollution Control Dam -II (1.68 mg/1),
the seepage from Lakhya dam (1.11 mg/1) and the discharges from the Kudremukh Holey (0.8 mg/I) even during the post-monsoon
seasons. However, the longer term studies of NEERI extending through the monsoon period have not made any observations during
the monsoon period which might be critical in terms of water quality.
6. The sediments carried by the runoff from the
mine area are trapped by the pollution control dams (PCD-I and PCD-II). Current operations by KIOCL involve periodic removal
and reuse of these sediments trapped in the upstream of the dams. Any discontinuation of this operation can cause large increase
in sediment loads in the Bhadra river.
7. It is observed that the sediments in the Bhadra river downstream of the mine
leased area contain Iron in insoluble form. Any change in the quality of water such as decrease in the dissolved oxygen or
pH will convert insoluble Iron into more soluble form. Any industrial or municipal effluents discharged into the river can
increase the concentration of Iron in the river system.
The Lakhya dam that holds mine waste and sludge~ from mine operations
is critical for preserving the water quality in the Bhadra river. Any breach resulting from discontinuation of or improper
maintenance can cause effects which might be catastrophic.
From the data available to us on silt loads in the Bhadra
river and sediments, which mostly pertains to the period after the mining started at Kudremukh, it is not possible to quantitatively
assess the negative impact of mining and its significance on the Bhadra reservoir. However, it is possible to get reasonable
estimates of the impact by making a separate comprehensive study of the siltation and sedimentation issues due to the mining
(Page 15-20 of the CES report)
The grasslands of Kudremukh can be classified as the Arundinella Chrysopogon
or Arundinella Psudanthistria type according to the standard classification of grasslands (Puri et al. 1983). The common
grasses we found at Kudremukh in our sampling of various sites are Arundinella purpurea, Psudanthistiria umbellate, Ischaemum
indicum and Chrysopogon hackelii. Grasses such as Dimeria ornithopoda, characteristic of undisturbed grasslands, are seen
in places such as Kuringal. The Gangdikal area has a high abundance of Arundinella purpurea and Chrysopogon hackelii. Although
the abandoned mining area had several species of grasses, the percentage grass cover was the lowest of all sites samples (Table
3.2.4). Typical root parasites such as Striga sp. and Aeginetia indica are seen among the grasses. Common herbs in the grasslands
include Canscora diffusa, Curcuma oligantha, Desmodium triflorum, Alysicarpus sp., Atylosia sp., Tephrosia sp., Smithia conferta
and Cassia mimosoides.
3.3 MAMMAL DIVERSITY of CES report
Kudremukh National Park offers a diversity
of physical and vegetational formations that harbour an equally varied mammalian fauna. This National Park is the widest and
largest block of wildlife habitat in the central and northern Western Ghats. The higher elevations are dominated by shola-
grassland formations, medium elevations by contiguous rainforests and lower elevation by secondary forest formations. Thus
resource availability for mammals is expected to vary altitudinally, inducing significant seasonal movements associated with
Field investigations were spread over three months from September 2000. This rapid survey
was undertaken to assess the status of mammalian fauna in different parts of the Park. Relative dung and pellet abundance
was assessed by laying fixed-width transects (50m x 2m) in grasslands and moist deciduous and evergreen forest patches. A
total number of fifty four pellet plots were laid in forest patches and fifty one in grasslands. Sherman traps were used to
assess the relative abundance of rodents. A total no of 340 traps were kept in forest patches and 200 traps were kept in grasslands.
Camera traps were also used to record the presence of large mammals in the sampled area covering both grassland and forest
Sambar, Gaur, Hare and Elephant were recorded in the pellet surveys. Photographic evidence was
obtained for Gaur, Porcupine and Palm Civet using Camera Traps. Two species of rodents and shrews were trapped in the Sherman
traps. Direct observational surveys and assessment of habitat suitability indicated the presence of mammals like: Liontailed
Macaque, Muntajc, Tiger, Palm Civet, Bonnet Macaque, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Common Langur, Indian Elephant, Gaur, Jackal,
Ruddy Mongoose, Dusky Striped Palm Squirrel, Large Brown Flying Squirrel and the Pteropus fruit bat.
Based on preliminary
assessments, at least 42 species of mammals are known to occur in Kudremukh National Park (Appendix 3). This list is rather
incomplete and does not contain many additional species from the orders Chiroptera (bats) and Rodentia (rats) that undoubtedly
occur there. A list of mammals for Kudremukh National Park along with their status in terms of rarity, endangerment and threat
is given in Appendix 3. The rare, threatened and endangered species. Details of the surveys of scats of large carnivores and
the sightings of large mammals encountered during the year 2000 are given in Table 3.3.1 and Table 3.3.2.
species of conservation significance occur in this region: Lion-tailed Macaque, Malabar Civet, Brown Palm Civet and Small
Travancore Flying Squirrel. The Park has perhaps the largest populations of Lion-tailed Macaques in the entire Western Ghats.
This primate is highly endangered and endemic to Western Ghats. Several other rare species known to occur in this region are
Indian Wild Dog, Dusky Striped Squirrel, Malabar Giant Squirrel and Bonnet Macaque. There is no definitive information available
on the occurrence of other endemic species like Indian Tree Shrew, Brown Mongoose, Nilgiri Marten, Small Travancore Flying
Squirrel and Malabar Spiny Door-mouse. However, these are likely to occur in this region based on their general habitat preferences
and distributional range.
REVIEW OF EARLIER MAMMAL SURVEYS
Because of its uniqueness, Kudremukh has attracted the
attention of wildlife biologists and there have been a few surveys of fauna in this region. Davidar (1980) was the first to
undertake an ecological reconnaissance survey of the region and highlight the ecological sensitivity of the area. She also
examined the status of forests and wildlife, investigated major threats to wildlife and tried to look at some of the possible
impacts of mining operations on wildlife in this area.
Karanth (1984; 1985) undertook a more detailed and systematic
survey of the distribution of the endangered lion tailed macaque in Karnataka during 1983-84. He observed that suitable and
extensive rainforest habitat for Lion-tailed Macaque existed in Kudremukh and that the tract probably harboured the largest
contiguous population of lion tailed macaques in the western Ghats (Karanth 1984). He further suggested that Lion-tailed Macaques
could be effectively used as a flagship species to conserve the entire biotic community in the region and prepared a conservation
plan for survival of wild population of Lion-tailed Macaques in the region delineating the present national park area as a
proposed nature reserve (Karanth 1992). Based on his report, the Karnataka State Wildlife Advisory Board suggested to the
Government that Kudremukh National Park be created. Subsequently, the notification of the national park was declared.