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XII Youth Conference ”Ecomonitoring of the Small Rivers and Coast of the Gulf of Finland” and Exhibition “Let’s Reduce Phosphate Load to the Baltic Sea”

October 20th, 2012 in the town of Lomonosov, the XIIth annual conference of the Friends of the Baltic River Watch network and the exhibition “Let’s Reduce Phosphate Load to the Baltic Sea” was held. The conference comprised results of youth ecomonitoring of small rivers of the Russian part of the Baltic Sea basin and of the Gulf of Finland coastline. Researches of the young ecologists showed that state-of-art in the river basins, coasts and lakes depends a lot on the culture of people living on their shores and on water use systems and on implementation of nature protection measures.

Interregional conference attracted more than 70 young ecologists and their teachers. It was organized with the support of Lomonosov municipality and Consulate General of Finland in St.Petersburg. Poster exhibition and “Let’s Stop Eutrophication of Our Rivers, Lakes and the Baltic Sea” leaflet prepared by Friends of the Baltic within the campaign of the Coalition Clean Baltic with the support from Nordic Council of Ministers was presented to the participants of the conference.

One of the good examples of how water use systems can influence the nature are two ponds on Karasta river. On the shores of one of the ponds, situated in the urban territory of Lomonosov, the soil is degraded, firmed by car wheels, trees and bushes are suppressed, an oil film can be seen on the water – a result of car washing in the pond. Another pond, Nizhny, situated in the Oranienbaum national museum and park, looks much healthier, there is no garbage around the pond, the water surface is cleaner, however the eutrophication can be seen, since both ponds belong to the river Karasta water system.

Murinsky stream, 1,5 to 5 meters wide was more full-flowing earlier. 600 years ago, Sosnovka park was a real forest and Murinsky stream had 11 tributaries, the fish could be caught in it. In XX century many tributaries were filled with soil in order to create more arable lands, part of the stream was put in the pipe in order to use the territory for housing and building purposes. Wastewater discharges turned the stream into stinking ditch in the second half of XX century. However in present, the wastewater discharges were reduced, the water is getting cleaner, the nature on the banks is getting healthier. Wild geese make stops during their migrations in Murinsky stream.

Investigations in the canal in Yuntolovsky nature reserve show decrease in biodiversity of invertebrates, which means that the ecological condition in the nature reserve buffer zone is getting worse. This might been caused by the impact of Western High-Speed Diameter of Ring Road and also by the abundance of garbage around the canal.

Investigations in the ecosystems of Lakhta gulf of the river Svir, near Lodeinoe Pole showed high biodiversity of animals on the shores and in the gulf: 22 fish species, many bird species and rare types of algae. However organic pollution coming from Podporozhie and Lodeinoe Pole through Svir river, as well as rest nitrogen from wastewater treatment plants and phosphorous from household sewage change the water quality and the species composition of invertebrates. Some pollution from oil station operating at the river Svir near Lodeinoe Pole in 1950s can still be traced.

On the Segezha river (Svir river basin) several pastures are situated. Research made in 2003-2010 with Woodivisson method show the presence of animals-indicators of clean water. This means that pastures do not affect the river ecosystem.

Water investigations in the Northern part of Novgorod region – on Serebryany source, Priksha river, stream in Novinka village (a tributary to Priksha river) and Msta river system (a tributary to Volkhov river) showed that water in all check points is alkaline and slightly alkaline, high level of pH (up to 9) can be observed in some places, which can be explained by the limestone in the underlying surface. However the water is relatively clean and healthy. Salmon and grayling can be caught here. On the shores there are around 20 types of plants.

Pupils of ecology and biology lyceum # 389 have been watching the Dudergofka river water quality between Veteranov prospect and Marshala Zhukova prospect for several years now. The water quality decreased since 2010, pH level changed from 6-7 in 2010 to 7-8 in 2011. A chemical scent can be noticed at one of the check points. Level of nitrogen was within the MAC (maximum allowable concentrations) in 2010, however in 2011 in exceeded the MAC level in 6-7 times, and in one check point even in 28 times (!), because of the broadening of the water bed, which roiled the sediments. The level of ferrum increased two times. Young ecologists believe that the public attention should be drawn to this issue and want to appeal together with Friends of the Baltic to the local authorities, health inspection services and other institutions.

In Skreblovo village of Luga region, pupils used phytoindication method to investigate the level of pollution of the Karamyshev pond and forest on the left bank of Bystritsa river. By watching the indicator plants from different check groups pupils could notice that general health and viability of the trees near the Hydropower plant 1 is lower. Species composition in Karamyshev pond shows high contents of nutrients and eutrophication of the pond.

Pupils examined also other fields and sources of anthropogenic impact on nature. Different types of mineral fertilizers commonly used in the suburban summer households were tested on the copper content. It turned out that in all checked fertilizers the amount of copper was higher than indicated on the packing. In some cases the information about copper was absent on the packing.

Pupils from school # 283 have analyzed the chemical composition of the drinking water in St.Petersburg and Leningrad region. They compared water from several check points in St.Petersburg on Stachek prospect, in town of Gatchina and town of Sestroretsk and other places. A special attention was paid on the impact of water filters on the chemical composition of water. The results showed that filters make water more than two times softer by catching the mineral salts. Lack of salts, in particular salts of calcium and magnesium, can negatively affect the human health. The compensation of mineral salts through food is recommended while using water filters.

Youth conference “Ecomonitoring of the Small Rivers and Coast of the Gulf of Finland” has traditionally gathered young ecologists, many of whom have been participating in the conference for several years already. The research works of the participants will be included in annual compendium of the conference. Several works became a base for articles and further investigations. Several important results about the pollution will be sent to the relevant authorities with the demand on taking measures against it.

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