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Mass fish mortality in Luga river – why did it happen?

In the end of July 2016 mass fish mortality was observed in Luga river (Luga district, Leningrad region): a lot of dead fish was found near Zaozerye village. Local residents, in cooperation with Clean Luga environmental movement activists and Friends of the Baltic NGO sent official request to the local municipality, as well as to Federal service for supervising natural resources (Rosprirodnadzor), the fish protection authorities and other authorized bodies. Both water area and coastal zone have been observed, but the source of pollution has not been identified.

Фото предоставлено ОД "Чистая Луга"Photo by Clean Luga environmental movement

Almost at the same time, Rosprirodnadzor of Novgorod region was informed about fish mortality in Luga river near Rusynya village (Batetskiy district, Novgorod Region).
The research results revealed an increased level of COD (chemical oxygen demand) and oil products (by 2.4 and 2.6 times respectively) compared to the maximum allowed concentration of pollutants in water bodies of the fishing category.

A few days later employees of the Department of State Control, Monitoring and Fishery Protection in Novgorod region of the Federal Agency for Fishery investigated the water area and the coastal zone, including a farm territory in the village Novoye Ovsino. An open-air manure storage site was discovered in Novoye Ovsino village, located 500-700 meters from the Luga River bank. Is it a source of pollution? – Hopefully, specialists will find out very soon.

Agriculture is one of the major factors of water quality degradation both in large and small rivers of the Leningrad region. A large number of livestock farms and private family-owned farms in Leningrad region contribute to an increase in organic waste, which then flows into rivers. Livestock production in Russia is not so profitable, which leads to further environmental degradation. It results in higher concentration of livestock population, subsequent reduction of grazing land area, and to shortage of funds for manure management. The livestock impact on rivers is exacerbated by the fact that farms are usually located on the very shore or in close vicinity of watercourses.

How to minimize the impact of agriculture to rivers?
In order to answer the question, Friends of the Baltic, supported by Leningrad region authorities as well as local activists and non-governmental organizations, plans to conduct a public research to identify the sources of nutrient pollutions in the Leningrad region water bodies and to spread information on sustainable solutions for nutrient load reduction.

Friends of the Baltic implement activities for Luga River basin within the Barents and Baltic Sea Region - Nature and People project. A media tour will be organized to demonstrate the best practices of farm waste management in the region. The tour will be held during the Year of Environment (2017) in cooperation with regional and local authorities.

To learn more about our activities in the region and to register for the media tour please contact:
Anna Kazina, Project Manager
8-968-191-62-81, annkazina@gmail.com, skype: anna-ctc

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