In addition to the biodiversity significance of the area, it is also of enormous economic significance. The last few decades have witnessed rapid economic changes and emergence of large scale production activities in EGREE. Currently the main production sectors operating in the landscape/ seascape are fisheries, aquaculture, salt pans, manufacturing activities such as, oil and gas exploration, fertilizers, edible oil, rice products, tourism and ports. In addition, there is dependency on the mangroves and marine resources by local villagers. These activities are impacting the overall ecological integrity of the EGREE particularly the mangrove ecosystems in CWLS and adjoining areas, with associated impacts on the livelihoods of local people. The existing institutional arrangements in the EGREE are quite inadequate in addressing the biodiversity related issues from a landscape/ seascape perspective.
In order to mitigate the adverse impacts on the landscape a very prestigious project is under implementation with the title GoI-UNDP–GEF Project ‘Mainstreaming Coastal and Marine Biodiversity Conservation into Production Sectors in East Godavari River Estuarine Ecosystem’, Andhra Pradesh under the umbrella programme ‘India GEF Coastal and Marine programme’ (IGCMP) which has started on 1st July 2011 with an outlay of US $ 24,023,636 of which partner managed Government contribution is US $ 18,000,000 while UNDP-managed GEF Grant US $ 6,023,636 for a period of 5 years (2011 June to 2016 March).
Main aims of this project are to mainstream biodiversity conservation into the production sectors of EGREE through: (1) Cross-sectoral planning in the EGREE that mainstreams biodiversity conservation considerations, (2) Enhanced capacity of sector institutions for implementing biodiversity-friendly sector plans, (3) Improved community livelihoods and sustainable natural resource use. By project end, it is anticipated that production activities in at least 80,000 ha of the EGREE mainstream biodiversity conservation objectives, in turn improving the conservation prospects of several globally significant species apart from contributing to the socio-economic well being of the region.