Situated on the east coast of India, and connected to the Bay of Bengal through a narrow sea mouth, Chilika is also a lagoon. And like all coastal lagoons, its waters are rich with life. It is the largest brackish Water Lagoon with estuarine character that sprawls along the east coast. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian sub-continent.
It is one of the hotspot of biodiversity in the country, and some rare, vulnerable and endangered species listed in the IUCN Red List of threatened Animals inhabit in the lagoon for atleast part of their life cycle. A survey of the fauna of Chilika carried out by the Zoological Survey of India in 1985-87 recorded over 800 species in and around the lagoon. This list includes a number of rare, threatened and endangered species, including the Barakudia limbless skink. On account of its rich bio-diversity and ecological significance, Chilika was designated as the 1st "Ramsar Site" of India.
Chilika Development Authority (a Government of Odisha Agency) has been created under Forest & Environment Department of Government of Odisha in the year 1991 with an objective for conservation of ecology of Chilika lagoon and to bring an all round development in and around the lagoon which calls for multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary development activities.