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Community involvement in wetland conservation in Southwest Siberia, Russia

01-Nov-2001

The 2.5-year project Conservation of wetlands and wetland species in Southwest Siberia (Russian Federation) aimed at elaboration of a community-participated management vision for two important Siberi...
The 2.5-year project Conservation of wetlands and wetland species in Southwest Siberia (Russian Federation) aimed at elaboration of a community-participated management vision for two important Siberian wetlands – Lake Chany and Lake Kulundinskoye – was launched in October 2000. To discuss its progress, a workshop was held in Novosibirsk in July 2001. Project participants considered draft reports for both lakes, estimated progress of project implementation, compiled a list of ideas on community involvement in the project, and adopted recommendations for elaboration of the management vision. The co-management approach is completely new for Russia. Traditionally, it is a country of 'top-down' decisions made by a narrow circle of officials, public at large being mostly excluded from the decision-making process. For this reason, issues of community involvement in wetland management raised much interest and were actively discussed. It was stressed that community involvement is a two-way process; it is not only informing stakeholder groups on the project and its’ activities, but it is also asking questions to the stakeholders, listening to their comments and incorporating their remarks into the environmental profile and the management vision. In this way only, the reports will become community-based documents. Practical results comprised the appointment of the community involvement expert and elaboration of a community involvement workplan for 2001 and 2002, which included awareness-raising actions and meeting with stakeholders, the nearest taking place in January 2002. Most of the fieldwork in the scope of the project was carried out in 2001 as it had been planned. Ornithological fieldwork at Lake Chany was carried out by Rob van Westrienen, Jan Veen and Alexander Yurlov. It included waterbird counts, catching and ringing chicks of Great Black-headed Gulls, determining mortality in chicks of Common Gull, Herring Gull (Larus cachinnans) and Great Black-headed Gull. The first breeding colony of Dalmatian Pelican was discovered in the area. Besides, a new species for Chany, the Long-tailed Skua, was sighted. In general, the work was carried out as it had been planned in October 2000. However, no breeding colony of Great Black-headed Gulls was found in Kulundinskaye Lake. As a consequence, observations in this area were limited. Ichthyologic fieldwork was performed by Petr Popov. He collected data on fish migration and fish breeding sites in spring. The results were promising and he expressed his willingness to continue the fieldwork in September (sampling young fish). Three groups worked in the Lake Chany on remote sensing, which included: verification of remote sensing data by ground truthing (mapping of aquatic and terrestrial vegetation); collecting data on zoo-plankton, water transparency etc.; and collecting information on landscape values, social and economic activities. The drafts of the environmental profile for Lake Chany and the report of nature values for Lake Kulundinskoye, with English summaries and captions to figures, are to be completed by January 31, 2001. Short summaries and other information about the project will be available in the oncoming newsletter that will be issued in Russian as well as in English. The main partners in the project are: the Institute for Water and Environmental Problems (IWEP; Novosibirsk), the Institute of Systematics and Animal Ecology (ISAE, Novosibirsk), the Institute for Inland Water Management and Waste Water Treatment (RIZA, the Netherlands), and VEDA Consultancy (the Netherlands). The project is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Management and Fisheries. Both the Russian government and the sponsor consider it a model example for the implementation of the National Wetland Strategy of the Russian Federation (1999).

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