The programme “Building Capacity and Involvement of Civil Society in Environmental and Natural Resources Management in North West Russia and the Barents Sea” has been developed through a consultative and participatory process between Coalition Clean Baltic, WWF Russia and WWF Sweden and in cooperation with WWF’s Baltic Ecoregion Programme (BEP). It will be implemented in the Russian part of the Baltic Sea Region and the Barents Region where the competition over natural resources is increasing and the resource base is at risk.

On the dedicated BBNPP Facebook page you can find pictures and the latest news.

BBNP / Activities

A major problem in the Baltic Sea is eutrophication. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Baltic Sea has changed from an oligotrophic clear-water sea into a highly eutrophic marine environment. According to 2014 HELCOM assessment, nearly the entire Baltic Sea is affected by eutrophication. Most of the water quality problems in the Baltic Sea originate upstream the thousands of waterways in the catchment area. Some 25% of the nutrient loads to the Baltic derive from wastewater and upstream, transboundary sources of pollution.

1. River Luga is located in the southwest of the Leningrad Region of Russia. It is the second largest river discharging into the Gulf of Finland. The estuary and receiving area of Luga River is currently suffering due to active urban and industrial development of port infrastructure and related sectors. The River Luga is the only river in the Russian part of the Baltic Sea where wild salmon naturally reproduce.

2. The Kurgalskiy Nature Reserve, established in 2000, is included in the network of HELCOM Baltic Sea Marine Protected Areas and on the RAMSAR Convention list of protected wetlands of international importance.The Kurgalskiy Reserve is an area of high conservation value for the Eastern Baltic Sea region as it serves as a spawning ground for many commercial fish species. The Kurgalskiy Reserve is furthermore an important breeding area for many species of marine birds and stopover for migrating birds, and it is the key area for the Baltic ringed seal haul-outs in the Gulf of Finland.

3. Curonian Lagoon is another example of the environmental stress in the Baltic region, the largest shallow lagoon of the Baltic Sea. Due to its natural beauty, the lagoon has a high tourism potential, though this potential is hampered due to harmful algal blooming caused by intensive nutrient loading and eutrophication.

4. Nemunas River is the third-largest contributor of total nitrogen and phosphorus to the Baltic from the territory of four countries. Several of the 58 fish species registered in the Curonian Lagoon are affected, among those a number of rare species included on the Lithuanian, Russian and HELCOM Red Lists for protection.

The current situation in Russia is volatile, competition over natural resources is increasing and civil society can potentially play an important role in strengthening natural resources management and mitigating environmental impact by engagement with public and private sectors based on existing legislation.

Through capacity development of civil society, the Programme will contribute to a vibrant debate regarding natural resources sustainability and ecosystem resilience, holding both public and private sector accountable and driving a change in management of natural resources towards sustainability. Therefore, our joint goal is to provide opportunities to more civil society organisations to raise their capacity and expertise.


OUTCOME 1. Ecosystem based management (EBM) in river basins is strengthened through increased civil society and community participation

The Neman and Pregolya river basins

  • Through the arrangement of seminars, KO local actors including representatives of regional authorities and academia, became familiar with BBNP project, its aims and objectives, plans and activities on river monitoring within the Neman and Pregolya basins as well as on wells monitoring (analysis of nitrates content). Belarusian NGOs from another CCB Programme were involved as experts.
  • One Resource Centre for popularization of environmental education was opened in Rybachiy Township in KO, located in a local school.
  • Four educational eco-routes have been designed with the purpose of outdoor environmental education.
  • “Water Centres” in three schools located in towns within the Neman and Pregolya river basins (Zapovednoe, Gvardeisk, Sovetsk) were established; hydro biological and hydro chemical equipment for public water monitoring was transferred to centre/school coordinators.

Luga and Neman river basins

  • Reliable and stable contacts were established with regional and municipal authorities (LO)
  • Cooperation with local activists in Luga town has started
  • Technical and methodical support for youth River Watch (RW) investigations/expeditions was provided for schools in the Luga River Basin.
  • Programme partners held testing of nutrient concentrations and discussed with residents about how to reduce the nutrient impact on water sources.
  • A media tour for journalists was arranged in order to popularisation of the information about pollution in the Luga river and promoting sustainable solutions.
  • The survey and interviews with local population were done jointly by KO partners in order to assess an engagement of local residents in environmental problems
  • General approaches in the Baltic Sea region, Russia to climate adaptation measures/climate adaptation plans were reviewed and gathering the information on flood risks in the project area has started.
  • A number of publications have been produced (search in publications)

Kurgalsky Peninsula

Researchers, wetland nature reserve rangers, CSO community and decision-makers met to discuss the local actions in nature conservation and planned collaborative actions in future in Kurgalsky Nature Reserve. Surveys and discussions with the tourists about the conservation value of the Kurgalsky Nature Reserve have been conducted and information from those was processed. Understanding of typical visitors is important to develop nature-friendly mechanisms of reducing the unorganized wild tourist load. Programme partners participated in all discussions and public hearings about potential construction of Nord Stream 2 through the Kurgansky Nature Reserve. The tourists were interviewed in Kurgalsky Nature Reserve and were informed about Nature Reserve and its value. Preliminary agreement for cooperation with tourist centre at Kurgalsky Nature Reserve was concluded.

Public involved in discussions of different aspects of ecosystem-based management aside just spatial planning during the CCB’s round table on ecosystem-based approach in integrated river basin and coastal marine areas management at Baltic Sea Days Forum in LO.

Curonian Lagoon

Two-days seminar «Agricultural tourism: start your business» held in KO and united about 50 persons, created interaction with local communities, provided education of participants; drafts of business-plans were prepared. As an outcome of the seminar the “School for junior guides” was created and launched to involve young generation living at the territory of the National Park into sustainable tourism activities. The students of Rybachiy village showed great engagement into nature conservation activities through participation in ecological actions; creation of positive relations to National Park. The seminar “Rural tourism: how to write a successful project” was organized at territory of National Park was performed during two days. Participants were trained by invited experts in approaches and methodological steps to prepare the project applications. Seminar combined not only adult, but also youth from Club Friends of Curonian Spit. Five project applications were drafted and one submitted in the competition of social and cultural projects of LUKOIL in Kaliningrad region. It was an outcome from the seminar “Rural tourism: how to write a successful project”. Opportunities for financing from the Baltic Sea Nature Conservation Foundation were presented to local partners, several project ideas launched.

Innovative public awareness campaign on environmental protection of the Baltic Sea – the general concept and preliminary design of the Baltic Sea Museum were done. Collaboration with local authorities at the City of Kaliningrad level and local authorities at regional level was established.

OUTCOME 2. Ecosystem Based Management (EBM) is understood by civil society and applied in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) processes in dialogue with other key stakeholders

Outcome 2.1. Civil society is active and capable stakeholder in MSP processes

  • Chairperson of the Environmental Commission of the Leningrad Oblast Legislative Assembly, representative of Ust’ Luga Harbour, activists and NGOs agreed to cooperate with in the frame of the Programme in LO.
  • Elders of Kurgalsky Peninsula villages got the information on governing bodies which control environmental issues within LO and on the international conventions for environmental protection.
  • Programme partners were trained on Maritime Spatial Planning and public participation by CCB. Network-based school projects are initiated by the schools of Kaliningrad and Belarus using outcomes of a joint expedition.
  • Residents and summer residents of Kurgalsky Peninsula got the information on Kurgalsky Nature Reserve, its natural values and vulnerable spices and different threats to the Nature Reserve.
  • BFN received an experience preparing materials about EBM for wider audience by preparing the Wadden Sea case at the round table during the Baltic Sea days.
  • Earlier published materials about Kurgalskiy were collected and reviewed, discussion of the concept of the Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) plan for the area started and approaches were made to sustainable development in LO. A core team of volunteers for pilot MSP project was formed during the 3-day seminar in Vyborg. Volunteers received knowledge and experience of involvement of public in nature conservation activities
  • Three very different coastal areas with strong ecosystem-based management practice were visited during the study trip for coastal and marine spatial planning. BFN received knowledge of approaches on how managers of nature reserves from the UK make the reserves friendlier for visitors and learned how public can be involved in the research of species from regional and international Red Lists and how people can help the wildlife around them.

Output 2.2. EBM integration in MSP is recognized by relevant stakeholders, and implementation of EBM integration in MSP activities has started

  • Public Environmental Council of the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland was created in LO, where potential joint projects with stakeholders were formed.
  • The concept of the Environmental Information Centre in the village Mysovka was created.
  • Volunteers were selected and trained to collect environmental samples of water to study the monitoring parameters released during the blue-green algal blooms (Morskoe, Rybachy, Lesnoye, Zelenogradsk).
  • The analysis of the ecological situation was carried out and the points of monitoring sampling were selected for determining the toxicity of water and the content of nutrients, as a part of capacity building activities for local volunteers participating in pilot MSP projects.
  • Two seminars, three trainings and two meetings with stakeholders were held in KO on by-catch and blue-green algal blooming.
  • A list of 5 key recommendations on the use of the less-impacting fishing gear in terms of by-catch was developed, one by-catch-monitoring workbook for fishermen developed, contacts with 10 fishermen established.
  • Good relations and cooperation with the fisheries cooperative “Fisherman of the Baltic” was established for the opening of the Environmental Information Centre and implementation of the by-catch monitoring activities in KO.
  • The concept of multi-functional piers at rivers and channels in Krasnoe village (Polessk municipality, KO) was designed, manufactured and supplied, as part of sustainable coastal infrastructure project.
  • A number of publications produced
  • The baseline information on the state of the Curonian Lagoon was compiled and potential MSP participants were determined in KO

NEWSLETTER (available only in Russian)


Mikhail Durkin
Project Director

Maria Basova
Project Manager

Dmitry Filippenko
Project Coordinator, Kaliningrad region

Ekaterina Vorobjeva
Project Coordinator, Leningrad region and St. Petersburg


Biologists for nature conservation

Non-commercial partnership “Institute of spatial planning, development and external relations”

Kaliningrad regional public institution “Scientific-educational eco-tourist center “Natural Heritage”

Public Council of the Southern Coast of the Gulf of Finland

Kaliningrad regional youth ecological organization “Green Planet”

Baltic Institute for Ecology of Hydrosphere (BIEH) Ltd

Kaliningrad Technical University (individual expert)

Kaliningrad regional children-youth center for environment, local history and tourism (Eco-Center)

Institute of the Baltic Sea Ltd

Kaliningrad charity fund preservation and development of the National Park “Curonian Spit”

Friends of the Baltic


Atlantic Branch of the Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (individual expert)


BRT Available Environment

Center for social end educational projects development “AURA”