This component of the Freshwater strategy targets the protection of ecological aspects of water bodies in high-conservation value areas of Pakistan. Restoration and protection of priority wetlands and ecosystems in the Central Indus Wetland Complex, which is the habitat for endangered and vulnerable species such as the Indus River dolphin, freshwater turtles, smooth coated otters etc. and identification of critical groundwater protection zones are the major areas of focus. WWF-Pakistan regularly conducts ecological assessments of key freshwater resources and species.

Conservation of the Indus River Dolphin

WWF-Pakistan has actively played its role in conserving the Indus River Dolphin. We have provided rescue trainings, conservation education, conducted Indus River Dolphin surveys and continue to educate communities about Dolphin conservation. WWF-Pakistan has also been involved in promulgating sustainable fishing practices to maintain a healthy aquatic ecosystem. Additionally, efforts have been made to introduce better agriculture management practices to minimize water pollution and create awareness regarding the importance and ecological role of aquatic species such as dolphins. Furthermore, projects to improve livelihoods of fisher communities have been implemented in order to reduce pressure on natural resources. We have also created awareness amongst the public by organizing Dolphin Safaris. Our continuous efforts to research and understand River dolphin’s population and its habitat demonstrate challenges faced by Dolphins and success achieved thus far in restoring their population sizes.

Ecological Baselining Studies

WWF-Pakistan has over the history developed a comprehensive database of key ecological indicators, such as freshwater habitats, wetlands, lakes, rivers, wildlife etc. for Pakistan. Our freshwater team along with conservation and GIS teams provide facilitation to analyze and conduct ecological baseline studies for infrastructural and non-infrastructural projects. For instance, WWF-Pakistan conducted Environmental Baseline Survey and Monitoring of Rehabilitation and Modernization of Jinnah Barrage under Punjab Barrages Improvement Project (Phase II). Similarly, we facilitate site-based surveys to upgrade knowledge and information on ecological indicators, such as critical freshwater habitats, endangered freshwater species etc.

Pakistan Wetlands Project

Pakistan Wetlands Project (PWP) was carried out by WWF-Pakistan and implemented in coordination with UNDP. The project promoted sustainable conservation of naturally existing freshwater and marine wetlands and their associated globally important biodiversity in Pakistan. PWP's aim was to create and maintain a positive, enabling national environment for wetlands conservation through policy development, training, capacity and awareness building. It also provided replicable working samples of wetlands conservation and management in the form of community-based management plans for four wetlands complexes, each representing a specific eco-region.