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The Bystroe Canal in the Ukrainin Danube Delta - Questions and Answers
A short summary
Where is the Ukrainian Danube Delta and the Bystroe Canal ?
What are the natural, social and economic values of the Ukrainian Delta ?
What is planned and what has happened already ?
What are the socio-economic and ecoloqical consequences of the canal ?
    There has been no detailed social and environmental impact of the canal. On the positive side the canal may bring some economic benefits to some (but not to all) of the parts that, once serviced the Delta. However the net impact is likely to be negative. Most of the population who live in the area rely on the Delta for their livelihoods; which will be threatened by the destruction to the natural delta systems. Many of the smaller canals so important for local fisherman are likely to be silted up and even the canals that dissect the city of Vilkovo may disappear once the canal is constructed. The Bystroye branch will be rectificated and deepened from 4,20 m to 7, 20 m, its riverbanks reinforced, as well as a 3 km canal outlet into the Black Sea will be built.'
    The ecological consequences of- the canal construction are likely to be most negatve. First of all a natural dynamic part will be destroyed - the unique sample of natural, continuously growing delta with evolution and formation of new habitats for a lof of species charactentic to these type of biotopes. Internationally important bird populations will be threatened hy the direct removal and disturbance of their habitat and food supplies. The reedbeds;, river systems and sandbanks are critical to these birds. The construction of the canal will directly destroy this habitat through the dredging activities and the construction of concrete canals. Sandbars will need to be removed at the mouth of the Bystroye Canal to allow ships to enter the canal. The removal of the sandbar at the mouth of the canal, for instance, will directly lead to the loss of the habitat of a total of over 4000 birds including 550 common and sandwich terns, 6 pairs of spoonbill, 25 pairs of whife-pelican, 3 pairs of dalmatian pelican, 25 pairs of pygmy cormorant (globally threatened) and one pale of white-tailed eagles according to annual counts made in April 2004.
    The Danube-Delta, including its Ukrainian part, is an important and internationally recognized habitat and spawning ground for fish resources shared by Danube and Black Sea countries. Planned large-scale dredging (both for construstion and maintainance of canal) and operation. of the canal will cause loss of these habitats and spawning grounds for a number of threatened and commercial fish species. The spawning migration of the Danube herring (Pontic shad) Alosa pontica passes through the mouth of the Bystroye. The herring has spawning grounds further upstream on the Danube, but its larvae migrate down the stream to the Black Sea. Nearly 5,000 fishermen belonging to four countries (Romania, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Serbia) depend economically on the lower Danube River fishery. Dredging and operation of the canal during the spawning period (Mid-May to Mid-August) will decrease the population of this species. The construction and maintenance of the canal will also impact the vital sturgeon populations. The Danube is the last river off the Black Sea Basin where natural spawning of passing sturgeons remains.
    The canal will also impact Romanian wetlands and the Romanian Biosphere Reserve. The construction of the canal is planned in Bystroye mouth and upstream in the Starostambulskoye mouth. The deepening or the existing riverbed of Bystroye mouth will inevitably increase river flow in that channel. Additionally, the Ministry of Transport of Ukraine are going to construct a “dam”(turning vane) for water flow regulation at the place where Starostambulskoye mouth branches off from Bystroye mouth. This is intended to rezult in reduction of water flow downstream in Starostamoulkoye mouth - water that is shared with Romania and its part of the bilateral Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve. Those activitles of Ukraine will not only affect the water resources of Roamnia but will also cause negative consequences for flora and fauna biodiversity depending on these wetlands.
    The Institute of Geological Studies oRfie National A-carfemy of -Sciences of Ukraine copfirms in their expert opinion that the waters and bottom sediments (both in Danube and shelf) are polluted by pesticides, heavy metals, radionucGdes, and or products that have ; been accumulated there for many years. Huge amounts of dredged soils (contaminated by heavy metals, pesticides etc.) will be removed to the sea dumping ground far away from the -s ore in the Black Sea. At the sea-dumping site, intensive long-term local pollution of sea bott) and waters will take place. The consequences of Such dumping will e the loss of ttom biocenasis, deterioration of oxygen conditions, toxic influence on biological forms. In ao~dition, there is a real threat of pollution of-artesian waters during the removal of upper Sri-my g(ound, which serves as a filter.The changes caused in' water circulation will damage and change the where ecosystem. Through the deepening of the Bystroye branch, the water flow will be accelerated to the sea and the'drainage of the surrounding area wilîincrease. DUO o the reinforcement ofthe bianks, the lateral water flow from the branch to the neighboring area will diminish or will be interrupted which will Interrupt the important ways for shorf migratory fish to their spawning places, 'as was proven by rectification works in the Romanian part of the Danube Delta.

What international treaties and agreements are concerned ?
What about the EU ?
Are there alternatives ?
What is WWF recommanding ?
What actions have been taken to protect the Ukrainian Delta up until now ?
What is WWF's track record with the Ukrainian Danube Delta ?
What actions have been or are planned to be taken bv WWF and other orqanisationslinstitutiohs to halt the construction ?
All the questions and answers presented in this section are property of WWF

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Last forum post by codrin on May 6, 2006, 9:06 pm
This is the idea of a team who
made a vision come truth....

Who should fight to change the current situation ?
The Ukrainian Government
The Romanian Government
The United Nations
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