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Round table in Luga - cooperation for the river monitoring and the search for practical solutions

The round table participants discussed the ecological status of Luga river and its water basin. According to local residents and environmental activists opinion, the main causes of the river pollution are nutrients from city wastewater, cottage runoff and livestock farms. According to residents, urban storm water also runs into the river without any treatment.

Local residents concerned about the swallowing of Luga river: Luga was the full-flowing river and had an active navigation before, but approximately from 60s it turned to the narrow river with two meters depth, where the boat passes hardly. Friends of the Baltic checked the descent near the building of Luga Administration. The river seems not to be environmentally healthy: it is quite shallow; there are fuel oil spots on the surface; a lot of garbage is in the coastal zone and in water.

The series of methodological seminars are the important part of the Friends of the Baltic River Watch network in Luga district. Workshops combine active teachers and interested students, provide them with the knowledge and tools for research. Luga district schools, and first of all Tolmachevskaya school, already have experience in water monitoring, in LugaBalt international project participation, and they are ready to share this experience.

Clean Luga public organization raised the issue of school teams development (ecopatrol) to monitor garbage on the river banks, to develop a series of educational events for general public, training for activists who could inform the local population.

The first seminar will take place in Luga on 2017, February, 7-9th. Friends of the Baltic and their partner organization’s experience of water bodies monitoring in Luga district and other districts of Leningrad region (including Kingisepp District, the upper stream of Luga river), will be presented at the meeting.

Monitoring points on the Luga River were preliminarily distributed among the participants of the meeting. Moreover, a methodology of work and the way of information exchange, including the nutrient load map of the river, were discussed. It is important also to develop monitoring of the springs and wells on the area: all substances that goes to the springs becomes a part of the river, and on the other hand - all that enter to the river appears in wells subsequently.

River Watch activities will be carried out at several points:
• Toroshkovichi Village - 1 point of observation
• The selected points within the city of Luga - 2-3 points of observation
• Tolmachevo settlement - 1 point of observation
• Osmino settlement - 1 point of observation

Friends of the Baltic held a practical study in Luga river basin – rapid analysis of nitrates was done in the major drinking water sources of Luga town. Friends of the Baltic checked the nitrate concentrations in the two springs, that are very popular to local residents. Moreover, Friends of the Baltic in cooperation with Clean Luga activists measured the nitrates concentration in the Luga river.

Results showed a high concentration of nitrates (100 mg/l) in the spring located on Luga prospect, 111 (place, called "spring near tankfarm") and a safety nitrate status of the second point - in the spring near the river Naplotinka. The concentration of nitrates in Lugariverwaters was also normal, despite the visual pollution of water, the smell, and the oil on the water surface.

Friends of the Baltic NGO plans to conduct research and data collection about nitrates throughout the area. According to the results of visual inspection of the river, and results of conversations with local residents, it is clear that the situation with the nitrate content in the region requires investigation.

One of the main targets of Friends of the Baltic activities implemented within the Nature and People international Coalition Clean Baltic project with informational support of Committee for General and Professional Education of Leningrad region, Committee of State Environmental Supervision of Leningrad region, the Neva-Ladoga Basin Water Directorate and other authorities in Leningrad region, is the development of the nutrient sources map for theriver Luga water basin. The Map will be the basis for identification of the main "actors" in the implementation of measures to reduce anthropogenic loadson the river Luga river basin.

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