1. Two choices to construct a deep water navigable canal in the Ukrainian sector of the Danube have been selected out of the 10 various choices elaborated in the last 10 years. All the choices have been ranked out in two different categories: those passing on the channels of the active delta and those whose functioning imposes the construction of locks canals. The best choice has been selected out of each category. Thus, there are two choices left for examination: Choice 1 (the construction of the locks canal on the Solomonov channel -- Jebriansk gulf) and Choice 2 (Vilkovo harbor-Black Sea, on the Starosambulsk and Bystroe channel).
2. The Chilia Delta of the Danube River is an ever-changing structure of channels and islands. The territories between channels are water covered (the pool area). The great speediness of the evolution of the delta, as well as the quick changing of the hydrological and hydro-physical conditions are the basic factors to have a decisive influence on the natural and technological environment within this territory.
3. The general evolution of the delta depends on the mutual interaction of the river with the sea and it is revealed by the advancement of the delta into the sea, by the formation of new channels and the disappearance of former channels, by the permanent changing of the number of channels, and the redistribution of the water flow, by the sand banks at the mouths of the channels in the river-sea current interaction area, by the alteration of the aquatic regime on the islands, that is the slowing of the water flow in the pools area and the decrease of the water level, as the channels are disappearing.
4. Besides these modifications, there are some periodically repeating phenomena in the delta, among which the most important are the sand depositing at the months of the channels periodically disappearing and regenerating and the internal changing of the water debit during the year. These phenomena cause the alteration of the water debit in the channels and pools and, as well, the deformation of the river bed and of the banks of the channels.
5. Thus, the technological impact of the construction and exploitation works will take place in the context of the above-mentioned phenomena, determining the attenuation, respectively, the accentuation of some of them.
6. The main technological impact factors are: the construction of dykes on the banks, determining the alteration of the water regime of the channels and of the pool areas, thus allowing the agricultural development of the meadow and island area; the regulation of the water flow in the upper section of the channels, determining a decrease of the sand flow in the latest 10 years, without changing the annual water debit. To a certain degree, these works have slowed down the depositing of mud in the channels and they can be considered a positive factor, in favor of the construction of the deep water navigable canal.
7. The Jebriansk gulf is characterized by the accumulation of sand deposits flowing from the access canal, in the south-eastem part of the gulf, from the Belgorodsk channel, in the southwestern part of the gulf and it is influenced by the marine current, in the north-western part of the gulf. These phenomena are causing the growth of the land strips and are affecting the depth of the gulf, negatively influencing the construction and the exploitation works of the canal.
8. The examination of the hydro-dynamical conditions of the delta in the area of the tract envisaged by Choice 1 reveals the fact that, compared to some other choices within the A category, Choice 2 has the following benefits:
-the slowest advancement of the sea in the area of the Bystroe channel;
-the debit of the Chilia delta waters, where the Bystroe channel is, is continuously growing;
-the sand and mud deposits of the Bystroe channel flowing far away into the sea (although this factor is unstable, the sand depositing at the mouth of the Bystroe channel has become more active in the latest 10 years, while the land strips on the right side, called Pticiia, has developed).
9. The examination of the economic activities in the area reveals the fact that the region is focused on the development of the maritime and fluvial industry, at a regional and international level. The industrial specialization of the region is based on the ship construction and reconditioning, on fishing and fishery industry. The basic factor of the development of the towns and cities in the region is represented by the transportation on the Danube, taking into account their geographical circumstances. The decline of navigation in the Ukrainian sector of the Danube, caused by the decrease of the water level in the Prorva channel, determined the decline of the industrial and transportation centers. The construction of the Danube-Black Sea deep water navigable canal is necessary for the development of the economy of the region.
10. Nowadays, the territory of the Delta favors the development of agriculture, fishing and hunting. The land areas within the Danube Natural Reserve are used as meadows for cattle. On the Delta channels (including Bystroe), industrial fishery is developed. The construction of the deep water navigable canal shall obstruct the fishing in the area, but not some other economic activities on the territory of the Delta.
11. The evaluation of the impact factors and of the deep water navigable canal choices, reveal the fact that most of the impact factors to affect the environment during the construction or the exploitation period depend, directly or indirectly, on the volume of the excavated soil or on the total area of the land to be used for the construction or for the appropriate functioning of the canal. The quantitative comparing of these factors reveals the advantages that Choice 2 (on the Bystroe channel) has on Choice 1 (on the Solomonov channel-Jebriansk gulf). On various sections of the tract from Vilkovo to the place where Danube flows into the sea, crossing the Danube Natural Reserve Territory, there is a 1:50 scale between the volumes of the excavated soil, while between the areas of the land to be exploited there is a 1:135 scale, to the advantage of Choice 2. Taking into account these criteria, the impact of Choice 1 on the territory of the Danube Natural Reserve is to be considered as unacceptable, especially having in mind the fact that some of the choices previously evaluated are more reasonable as far as the landscape preservation of the Danube Natural Reserve is concerned.
12. The air contamination further to the hydro-technical construction works will not be on long term and will not surpass the legal limits. The gas emanations from mobile sources will be local arid short. There aren't any mobile contaminating sources during the construction and exploitation period. Considering the air contamination criterion in the construction period, Choice 2 should be preferred.
13. Taking into account the semi-width of canals and channels, the noise intensity within the banks limits is not bound to overpass the legal limits (55dBA). As far as the impact the dredging factor has on animals, Choice 1 should be preferred, as it is not crossing the Danube Natural Reserve.
14. The evaluation of the impact of the above-mentioned choices on the aquatic environment reveals the fact that it is complex and distinctive for the various sections of the tract. The main impact factor is determined by the works to deepen the river bed. The volume of these works is several times higher for Choice 1 compared to Choice 2. Thus, the impact of this choice on the environment is higher.
15. The main negative impacts on the surface, underground, maritime waters after the achievement of the project are the following:
-the alteration of the water regime on the land strip and Jebriansk pools area;
-the construction of the canal can lead to a certain instability of the water flow, with negative consequences for the aquatic phenomena within the Jebriansk gulf;
-affecting the water quality in the Jebriansk gulf, as a consequence of the works to deepen the, river bed;
-the contamination of the waters and of the sea bed in the area where the excavated soil has been deposited.
16. The tract of the canal follows the natural tract of the river, according to Choice 2 and provides a lesser impact on the environment compared to Choice 1 . The main negative impact of this choice is determined by the area of the Bystroe channel mouth. This is bound to determine the alteration of the water formation phenomena in the Bystroe channel and in the area of its flowing into the sea. However, taking into account the high speed of the water flow on the Bystroe channel, the alteration of the water quality will be less serious, compared to Choice 1 . The water and sea bed contamination in the area where the excavated soil is to be deposited will also be less serious compared to Choice 2. Consequently, one can draw the conclusion that the entire impact on the aquatic environment shall be less serious, should Choice 2 be considered.
17. The territory of the tract envisaged by Choice 1 should be considered more valuable, taking into account the diversity of the flora and herpetofauna. As far as other categories of fauna, both territories, envisaged by both choices, are equally valuable.
18. As far as the impact on the flora and fauna is concerned, Choice 1 is less advantageous compared to Choice 2, except for the aquatic fauna, which is equally affected by both choices.
19. The fact that the construction of the locks canal shall divide the Jebriansk pool area in two sections is bound to strongly and irremediably affect the aquatic regime of the Danube Natural Reserve and it call even cause the degradation of the biocenosis on areas larger than those envisaged for the construction of the canal; considering these elements, Choice 1 should be regarded as unacceptable from the point of view of the necessity to preserve the Danube Natural Reserve.
20. The construction of the locks canal in the Jebriansk rocky structure area, according to Choice 1 , contradicts the ecological aims of the Danube Natural Reserve, requesting the necessity of a stable functioning of the natural and anthropogenic systems, as well as of the preservation of the biological diversity; beyond the Jebriansk pools and gulf buffer zone, the alteration of the type and character of the landscape is forbidden.
21. The works to deepen the bottom of the river bed in the Bystroe mouth area can cause the natural evolution of the delta in the future, thus contradicting the aims of the natural reserve, to preserve, as much as possible, the natural circumstances of the evolution of the delta.
22. The comparative assessment of the two choices reveals the fact that any choice, is, more or less, bound to affect the functioning of the reserve and, thus, the request formulated by the Academy of Science of Ukraine, to chose the project which will not at all affect the Danube Natural Reserve is impossible to be put into practice.
23. The decision with respect to the construction of the deep water navigation canal should be taken considering the aims of the Danube Natural Reserve.
24. On the basis of the thorough evaluation of the choices with respect to the tract of the Danube-Black Sea canal, Choice 2 could be recommended. Nevertheless, there is still the possibility to get the approval with respect to the performance of the construction works within the strict regime of the reserve of the Bystroe channel, including settling the navigation installations on its banks.
25. Taking into consideration the fact that the ecological forecast is not accurate enough to determine the quantitative impact should the canal be constructed according to Choice 2, during the first stage of the construction, a thorough monitoring will be necessary, with respect to the aquatic environment and to the flora and fauna.
26. The works of the second stage of the project shall be started only after the strict reserve regime area has been delimited.