Iran’s Gorgan Bay is the largest bay in the Caspian Sea, which was formed because of the advance of the Miankaleh Peninsula in the southeast of the Caspian Sea.
Not only this subcontinent but also the surrounding areas, including the Miankaleh Peninsula and the Gomishan International Wetland, are valuable ecological complexes.
Drought and water management change, changes in wetland land use and improper exploitation, entry of industrial, agricultural, and urban pollutants, destruction due to increasing population pressure on the wetland, implementation of development projects in the west and northwest of the wetland, sedimentation, and others natural and human factors have devastating effects on this ecosystem, but the declining water level of the Caspian Sea in recent years is the most important threat to Gorgan Bay, which has affected many other challenges.
The environmental reaction of the largest lake on Earth to climatic factors during the last seventy years has been such that the decrease in the water level of the Caspian Sea has caused the drying of a large area of the coastal lagoon of Gorgan Bay.
In recent years, due to the increasing drought along with the reduction of water entering the Gulf of Gorgan, a large percentage of the bay has dried up and is extinct.
According to the data of Iran’s National Mapping Organization, more than 27 percent of the 400 square kilometers of Gorgan International Bay has dried up in recent years, and the lack of the regime government attention to it has intensified the possibility of the increase of this area.
Experts warn that with the disappearance of the water exchange between the Gulf of Gorgan and the Caspian Sea will stop in the next decade and no trace of this water zone will remain except a desert.
For many years, a large volume of agricultural and even domestic wastewater from urban or rural population centers around the Gulf of Gorgan is running into the Gulf of Gorgan, reducing the water quality of Gorgan Bay and it has caused the accumulation of toxins from agricultural activities on the coast.
At present, the water level of the Chapaghli canal, as the only connecting route between Gorgan Bay and the Caspian Sea, is only a few centimeters, and not even a rowing boat can cross it, which is unprecedented.
Ignoring this issue threatens the lives of millions of residents of Gorgan Bay in Golestan and Mazandaran.
In a few decades ago, Gorgan Bay, in addition to benefiting from the water supply of the rivers leading to it, exchanged water with the Caspian Sea through three canals, Khazini, Ashuradeh, and Chapaghli, and thousands of cubic meters of Caspian water entered Gorgan Bay through these three canals.
The accumulation of mud in the Khazini and Chapaghli canals as the water connection of Gorgan Bay and the Caspian Sea and the neglect of the regime to solve this problem has reduced the water level of Gorgan Bay and has gradually drought out this area.
In addition, climate change and the construction of water structures in the upstream areas of the rivers caused the inflow of water to the Gorgan Bay from the rivers to reach its lowest level in decades.
Around the 90th, the Khazini Canal and this year the Ashuradeh Canal (Ara Kanal) dried up completely, and except for a few centimeters of water from temporary lagoons, there is no water exchange from the Caspian to the Gulf of Gorgan through this route.
Gorgan Bay, which in previous centuries, with its abundant water, provided the ground for the creation of ports such as Gaz and Turkaman and increased the prosperity of these areas, has been suffering from drought for several years and there is nothing left from all that glory, and it struggles with a slow death.
Gorgan Bay with its economic and ecological function is important in aquatic reproduction and the attraction of migratory birds and preserving the life cycle of the Caspian Sea and has a direct and important role in the livelihood of local communities.
Gorgan Bay is also one of the largest reservoirs of freshwater connected to the Caspian Sea and the survival of many living things in the largest lake on earth depends on its connection with this bay.