A Public View of the State of Small Rivers

Grant Recipient

Ecocentre-K, Kryvy Rig Local Branch of the National Ecological Centre of Ukraine, "AYA"Cultural Creative Union

Project Leader


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Igor Malakhov

Contact

P.O. Box 6308,
Kryvy Rig city, 50000
Tel: +38 0564 728408
Fax: +38 0564 229650
E-mail: imal@ingok.com.ua

Goal

The development and implementation of a set of appropriate methods for the public to use to assess the state of small rivers and conduct activities to assess the state of small rivers on a selective basis.

Objectives

  • to form a project working group and to develop methods to assess the state of small rivers;
  • to announce and carry out a representative All-Ukrainian action on the public assessment of the state of small rivers;
  • to analyse and summarise assessment materials collected and to draw conclusions from the activity;
  • to campaign to make the results of assessments available to the public and increase the possibility that the assessment methods and results will have a practical application;
  • to publish and disseminate a brochure reporting the results of the project and the testing method

Project Area

Dnipropetrovska, Donetska, Mykolaivska, Kirovogradska, Kyivska, Lvivska, Sumska Oblasts

Results

A methodology was developed to assess the state of rivers

A methodology was developed to use a test to assess the state of rivers in different regions of Ukraine; mountain rivers were excluded. The test, which includes 26 questions, is divided into three parts:

1) assessment by river parameters (e.g., current speed, over-regulation of the course of the river by dikes, river littering, aquatic vegetation),

2) assessment by the state of floodplain (width of undisturbed area of floodplain, level of recrea-tional load, littering on protected strips along the bank, etc);

3) evaluation by the population of changes faced by the river.

All questions have optional answers, each awarded a number of points. The assessment is con-ducted by a group of researchers. In answering the questions, each records his/her own point in his/her "individual" table. Once the assessment is completed, the average point is calculated, and these are then summarised. Such an assessment is more objective than an assessment made by one expert alone. According to the total number of points, the state of the river is evaluated as being be-tween "good" and "critical".

A description of the methodology has been placed on the web-site of the Ukrainian Rivers Network. The practical use of this methodology is included in the URN training-course.

 

A public action was organised to assess the state of small rivers

The methodology for assessing the state of small rivers was sent to the heads of the groups that were to conduct the assessments. Consultations and meetings were held, agreements and workplans were signed. The rivers were assessed in accordance with the new methodology in May 2004. After a river (or part of a river) had been assessed, the organisation involved wrote a document entitled "Monitoring the Environmental State of a River" and sent it to the co-ordinator of the action. On the basis of the assessments collected, the organisations involved wrote letters of appeal to the local authorities about improving the state of the rivers.

Thirty-eight NGOs (more than 85 participants) from 13 Ukrainian Oblasts and Bryansk Oblast (Russia) took part in the public action; 48 rivers were studied and more than 150 assessments were received. A total of 450 km of river was researched. Rivers still in their natural state can, in fact, be found in all parts of each oblast. However, the majority, around 70% of all the stretches researched, are affected by human activity, with some small rivers totally destroyed. It was established that, throughout the country, the problem is violation of the Water Code in relation to the establishment of protective strips along riverbanks. Following queries to Environmental Inspections, the reason for this situation became clear - the sizes of protective strips along riverbanks are not defined any-where in Ukraine. It could be said that protective strips along riverbanks have not been established in effect.

It is important to know that on the basis of this established and tested methodology for assessing the state of rivers the public can begin environmental monitoring of small rivers in Ukraine, and the wider public can become involved.

 

A workshop was held, based on the results of the action

In June 2004, a workshop to present the results of the action and the testing methodology was held in Kryvy Rig. Workshop participants included representatives of environmental NGOs from the dif-ferent oblasts that had taken part in the public action. The advantages and disadvantages of the pro-posed methodology were discussed at the workshop; subsequently some changes were made in the text of the methodology.

 

A CD, "Assessing the State of Small Rivers Using a Test", was produced and disseminated

The CD includes the methodology for assessing the state of rivers, the results of the river assess-ment, including maps, and a photo gallery, as well as information about the project participants. The CD was presented at the workshop-presentation of the "Save Your River" Small Grants Programme for members of the Ukrainian Rivers Network held in Kyiv in September 2004. The CD was dis-seminated among participants of the workshop-presentation.

 

 
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