The negative impact of the Bystroe Canal on the Danube Delta ecosystem can be specifically
observed in the following preliminary study made by the Romanian Ministry of
Environment and Water Management, based on unofficial data:
In the Ukrainian part of the Danube Biosphere Reserve alone there are 257 birds species present, 9 of them listed in the European Red Book
and 42 of them listed in the Ukrainian Red Book.
This area represents also the specific habitats for thousands of waterfowls.
This area is a nesting zone for a 1000 pairs of pygmy cormorants (Phalacrocorax pygmeus)
and 3 pairs of white-tailed eagles (Haliaeetus albicilla). During the
breeding period there are around 2,500 white pelicans (Pelecanus onocrotalus),
80 Dalmatian pelicans (Pelecanus crispus), 800 pygmy cormorants (Phalacrocorax
pygmeus), 900 red-breasted gooses (Branta ruficollis) and 35 white-tailed eagles
(Haliaeetus albicilla). The proposed navigation canal will affect the banks
where there are 223 birds species, 5 of them listed in the European Red
Book and 31 of them listed in the Ukrainian Red Book; the building of
the canal and the navigation will lead to the destruction of the nesting
areas and will worsen the living condition for birds, as well as the
loss of the resting, feeding and wintering areas.
From the existing three birds migration routes
in the Black Sea catchments, the Pontic
way is the most important and it crosses the area situated on the
Western coast also included in the Danube Delta. On this migration route, pass species that nest in North and Central Europe and also some that have distribution areas in Asia.
The most migratory species are flying on the route situated near to the seaside,
where the trophic resources are rich and there are moderate climate conditions.
Within the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve were identified over 331
bird species, very important for European fauna, listed on the different
Annexes of the International Conventions concerning the species conservation
and protection (Red Book - DDBR). Only the Bern Convention mentioned 320
protected bird species.
It must be mentioned that any antropic interventions that determine changes
in the natural habitats affect the optimum development of the essential
process of the existing species in this area.
Hydro-technical works for navigation have the biggest impact because they affect the entire wetland biome, wreaking havoc in the aquatic ecosystems that are interconnected in such a complex structure.
Constructing a navigable channel in the central part of the Ukrainian Delta – Bystroe – by the increasing of the water flow in this area will not only affect the natural habitats from neighbouring ecosystems, but also on large scale, the entire Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve.
The first areas affected will be situated
in the North-Eastern part of the Danube Delta: the strictly
protected areas Letea (S=2825 ha) and Rosca-Buhaiova (S=9625ha),
reconstructed islet Babina (S=2100 ha) and Cernovca (S=1580 ha), as well as the
restored areas Popina (S=3600 ha) from the fishery with the same name.
As a result of the changes in the aquatic habitats, firstly it is possible that the pelican colonies will disappear from Hrecisca-Buhaiova, as well as other poli-specific colonies
of egrets (Egretta sp.), herons (Ardea sp.), spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia),
glossy ibis (Plegadis falcinellus) and cormorants (Phalacrocorax sp.).
As a result, the avifaunistic and other biodiversity values of the Danube Delta will be considerably reduced.