The Eastern Himalaya Freshwater Biodiversity Assessment has now been completed and is freely available HERE.

The aim of the project was to assess the conservation status, distribution and threats of freshwater species within the Eastern Himalayas Biodiversity hotspot. Results show that that 31.3% of the 1,073 freshwater species of fishes, molluscs, dragonflies and damselflies currently known in the Eastern Himalaya region are assessed as Data Deficient, emphasizing the urgent need for new research in the region. Of those species for which information is available, 7.2% are classed as threatened and a further 5.4% are considered to be Near Threatened. The study also highlights that, in order to significantly increase the level of information that is available to inform conservation planning, there is an urgent need for additional training in taxonomy and research methods for regional experts and increased funding to carry out species assessments.

Lower parts of the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers have been heavily impacted by pollution, the clearing and degradation of forests (leading to sedimentation and changes in flow regimes) and the development of dams. There are extensive plans for water resource and transport infrastructure development within the region which are likely to impact even more upon ecosystems and species. These plans should not be undertaken without taking into account associated risks for biodiversity. One of the outputs of the report is the Key Biodiversity Areas Map for freshwater species. The potential freshwater KBAs are shown in the map below (For more information please refer to chapter 6 in the report). The next step would be the formal designation of KBAs and gap analysis through regional workshops. The formal designation of KBAs for freshwater species was not within the scope of this project and therefore has not yet been undertaken.