The Ulhas River Estuary Story

by Aneesh Parnerkar

An ecological and visual nexus with huge and extremely important social explications, the Ulhas River and its estuary form the impetus of this research paper. The river, rising in Maharashtra’s Sahyadri Mountains, flows through Thane, Raigad, and Mumbai before draining into the Arabian Sea. The estuary of the river, located at the river’s mouth, is an ecological hub home to numerous marine migrants and amphidromous species. Furthermore, The Ulhas River Estuary is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and a treasure trove for local fishing communities.

Source: Menon and Mahajan

The above maps help clarify the bearings of the Ulhas River along the western coast of India. The river fosters a delta as it runs into the Arabian Sea, which is known as the Ulhas Estuary. The estuary is located near the mouth of the Thane Creek, a tidal creek that connects Mumbai to the mainland. Thane Creek is one of the region’s main inlets and is responsible for the tidal changes in the Ulhas River.

The Ulhas River Estuary is a vast expanse of mangrove forests, mudflats, and sandbanks. The mangroves play a significant role in protecting the region from tidal surges while serving as a breeding ground for diverse species of fish and crustaceans. According to a research study published in the Journal of Environmental Biology, “the Ulhas River Estuary was recorded to shelter a total of 105 species, belonging to 4 classes, 19 orders, 44 families, and 75 genera. Based on the estuarine use functional guild categorization, 51.42% of species were marine migrants, followed by amphidromous species.

Source : Lal et al.

The aforementioned research study, among discernible substitutes, signifies the nursery function of the estuary for sustaining commercially important marine fisheries resources” (Lal et al.). It is naturally a source of livelihood for the local fishermen, who rely on the river’s resources for their daily catch. The fishermen use traditional methods of fishing, such as using nets and boats, and are known for their expertise in catching distinct types of fish in the area.

Source: ““Ulhas River Comes close to Danger Mark, Thane on Alert”

As you explore the Ulhas River Estuary, you will notice the vast expanse of the mangrove forests. These forests are a unique ecosystem that supports a diverse range of plant and animal species. The trees have a peculiar root system that grows above the ground, which allows them to absorb nutrients and oxygen from the air. The mangrove forests are also an excellent habitat for the estuary’s wildlife, including reptiles, birds, and mammals. Specifically, the mudflats are also home to many species of migratory birds, making the region a popular destination for bird watchers.

Source: IStockPhoto                                                                           Source : Geography Five

If you’re lucky, you may spot the estuary’s most famous resident, the saltwater crocodile. These reptiles are native to the region and can be spotted basking in the sun on the estuary’s mudflats. While they are usually harmless, it is advisable to keep a safe distance from them.

Source : Thomsen

In conclusion, the Ulhas River Estuary is a true gem of nature that must be explored. Its serene beauty, diverse wildlife, and unique ecosystem make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Whether you’re a bird watcher, a fisherman, or just someone who loves to soak in nature’s beauty, the Ulhas River Estuary is an experience you won’t forget.


Works Cited

Five, Geography. “Mumbai’s Mangroves: Mangroves in Mumbai.” Mumbai’s Mangroves, 27 Nov.                                                                                                                                               2015, Accessed 10 May 2023.

IStockPhoto,       Accessed 10 May 2023.

Lal, D. M., et al. “Fish Community Structure as an Indicator of the Ecological Significance: A Study from Ulhas River Estuary, Western Coast of India.” Journal of Environmental Biology, vol. 41, no. 4, July 2020, pp. 745–54, Accessed 10

May 2023.

Menon, J. S., and S. V. Mahajan. “Site-Wise Mercury Levels in Ulhas River Estuary and Thane Creek near Mumbai, India and Its Relation to Water Parameters.” Our Nature, vol. 8, no. 1, Jan. 1970, pp. 170–79, Accessed 10 May 2023.

“Ulhas River Comes close to Danger Mark, Thane on Alert.” The Indian Express, 31 July 2019, 5865025/. Accessed 10 May 2023.

Thomsen, Paul. “English: Photographer: Paul Thomsen (WILDFOTO.COM.AU).” Wikimedia Commons,                                        8                                        Nov.                                                         2006, Accessed 10 May 2023.

Published by LakesOfIndia

Lakes of India is an E.F.I initiative aimed at sensitizing the larger public on freshwater habitats across the country. A blog platform where one can read about lakes across India. You can become a guest blogger to write about a lake in your hometown and initiate an action to protect that lake.

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