3.2 General assessment with respect to the impact of the designed project on the natural environment
In order to comparatively evaluate the impact on the environment of the choices related to the construction of the Danube-Black Sea deep water navigable canal, the tract of each envisaged canal has been divided in three sections, among which the Reni-Vilkovo section is common to both projects. The last section of each tract includes the maritime canal and the dykes in the Jebriansk gulf area ( Choice 1 ) and the mouth of the Bystroe channel area (Choice 2).
The impact has been assessed separately, for the construction period, respectively, for the exploitation period. The impact factors related to the construction works have been examined with respect to the construction period. The impact factors related to the works to deepen the bottom and to the passing on the ships on the canal have been mainly examined, with respect to the exploitation period.
The comparative characterization of Choices 1 and 2 was based on the materials within the Experts' Technical Explanations, while the characterization of the eventual consequences has been based on the scientific report of the Academy of Science of Ukraine and on the scientific research performed by the Institute for Hydro-mechanics within the Academy of Science of Ukraine and by the Biology Institute of the Southern Seas within the Academy of Science of Ukraine, of Odessa.
Taking into account the fact that the mid and final sections of the proposed canals cross various areas within the Danube Natural Reserve, an extremely important criterion used for the evaluation was the ecological value of the territories within the impact zone, according to each choice. The data of the report reveal the fact that, notwithstanding their differentiated reserve regime, the territories to be crossed by the canal, according to Choice 1 (the Jebriansk rocky structure, the Jebriansk pools and Jebriansk gulf) and to Choice 2 (Bystroe channel, the sea shore, where Bystroe flows into the sea and the mouth of the Bystroe channel) can be considered equally valuable, although, taking into account the type of flora and the diversity of fauna, especially of the herpetofauna, the areas within the impact zone of Choice 1 are more valuable.
Considering the fact that both areas are equally valuable from an ecological point of view, we are of the opinion that the comparative evaluation of the impact of the construction of the deep water navigable canal on the environment should be based on the premise that the seriousness of the ecological consequences depends on the total area of the territories to be affected by equal factors and on the extent to which the natural conditions in these territories might change.
During the construction period, according to Choice 1 (Solomonov channel -Jebriansk gulf), all the works, except for the works to strengthen the banks of the Bystroe channel, according to Choice 2, shall have equally negative consequences, or even more serious than the impact envisaged for Choice 2. The construction of the locks canal is bound to unjustifiably affect the Jebriansk rocky structure, the Jebriansk pools and the Jebriansk gulf, belonging to the Danube Natural Reserve. During the exploitation period, the negative consequences, generated by the construction of the locks canal, will persist and even become more serious. Considering all these elements, we are of the opinion that Choice 1 should not be recommended.
The exploitation of the canal on the Bystroe channel is also bound to cause a series of negative consequences, but this impact will be less serious compared to the impact the construction of the canal according to Choice 1 might have on the environment.