Seminar “Neman river delta: challenges and opportunities of water management”

On November 9-10, the seminar about problems and perspectives of River Basin Management in Neman river delta was organized jointly by the Kaliningrad partners of the Barents and Baltic People and Nature Program (Atlantic Branch of the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, KSTU, Kaliningrad regional children-youth center for environment, local history and tourism (Eco-Center), Baltic Institute for Ecology of Hydrosphere (BIEH), Institute of spatial planning, development and external relations).

The purpose of the seminar was to enhance the role of the local population in management and use of the water resources of the Neman river catchment, Curonian Lagoon and its tributaries. The seminar was targeted a wide range of stakeholders (public, representatives of the municipality and settlements, entrepreneurs of various fields of activity, educational and research organizations).

The first day the seminar was in a format of round table and devoted to the discussion of topical issues of water management in the territories located in the lower part of the Neman delta.
The major points of duscussion: analysis of threats of floods and flooding, marine spatial planning at local level, biogenic load in the Neman river basin, public participation in water management planning. Representatives of Rosprirodnadzor, the Nevsko-Ladoga Basin Administration for KO, as well as the Head of the Slavsky Municipal Formation, representatives of the agricultural and melioration structures participated in the seminar.

The place of the seminar was chosen not accidentally – Slavskiy district – the territory, which is in the risk of flooding. Historically there are polderlands and meliorative canals. Now, one of the main problems is the lack of an effective system of land reclamation, cleaning and deepening of the canals, which creates a significant threat of flooding, as well as surges and a backwater from the Curonian Lagoon. Flooding of territories is a problem not only ecological, but also economic. Local residents become the main victims of flooding. Representatives of the local administration – the head of the Ministry of Defense, the head of the agriculture department, local public activists took an active part in the discussion of the problems.

The following presentations were made during the seminar:

  • Filippenko D.- Opening words and information about the Barents – Baltic People and Nature Programme (BBNPP)
    P (KODYUTSEKT), coordinator of the Barents-Baltic Program “Nature and Man”
  • Voropayev R. – Neman river delta in the system of surface waters of the Baltic Sea basin. (ABIORAS)
  • Shchagina N. – Analysis of the threat of floods and flooding of the Neman River Delta. (ABIORAS)
  • Domnina A. – Marine spatial planning: principles and application prospects for the Curonian Lagoon and the Neman River Delta. (BIEH)
  • Aldushina Y. – Characteristics of sources of nutrients in the Neman river basin and the possibility of their reduction. (KSTU)
  • Kesoretskikh I. – Public participation in joint planning of river basin management. (ISP)

On the second day of the seminar a workshop for schoolchildren  from Kaliningrad, Zelenogradsk, Guryevsky and Slavskiy districts was held. It took place in the village Matrosovo. Ecological education is one of the forms of involving young citizens and public participation is a form of solving local environmental problems. The programme was organised around three thematic sessions: a) marine spatial planning at the local level (based on the example of Matrosovo village), b) water quality studies using hydrochemical and hydrobiological methods, c) business game “The Baltic begins here, or from the river to the sea”.

Informing, raising awareness are important steps for understanding problems and finding solutions. On the example of practical classes and business games schoolchildren learned many new things, as how those living far from the coast affect the ecological situation at sea. They got acquainted with simple methods of testing the quality of waters they use and managed to understand through the business game the processes of interaction (government, business, public), planning and decision-making in water management.

The Agenda of the seminar.

More photos could be found here.

The results of the public poll “The use and natural environment of the Curonian Lagoon from the point of view of aquatorial planning”.