Baltic Sea Day 2019: focus on reducing nutrient loads

Friends of the Baltic organized the session “Ecosystem approach to River Basin Management, role of public and citizens in water conservation and climate change adaptation” in the frame of Baltic Sea Day Forum in St. Petersburg. The event was held on March 21st as a part of Round Table “Rural settlements and agricultural enterprises to water sources protection”. The session was devoted to approaches and methods  for reducing nutrient loads on water bodies in Baltic Sea region. More than 85 people from Russia, Belarus, Poland, Latvia, Sweden and Finland took part in the event.

Proposals that developed in the frame of the Baltic Sea Day 2019 is very important. Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) assessment is expected by 2020, the Plan is planned to be revised for the next period, therefore, it is necessary to finalize measures to reduce the nutrient load on the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea - this is the main priority of the BSAP. This was discussed by the session moderators - Kai Myurberg, Finnish Environment Institute, and Olga Senova, Friends of the Baltic.

Anna Kazina told the participants about ecosystem approach to water management. Barents-Baltic Program “Nature and People” acting since 2016 in the Luga River basin. All stakeholders are involved to find a common vision of necessary solutions for water resources conservation. A Public Advisory Council of the Luga River Basin was created, with the participation of representatives of municipalities, gardening associations, farmers, fishermen, citizens. The Council developed proposals for improving the situation in the region and sent them to the Governments of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region. These proposals became the basis of the Resolution of the round table on the Baltic Sea Day.

Kai Myurberg presented new Finnish-Russian project “Water meets people: learn, act, influence” (SEVIRA). The project includes scientific research and public monitoring in the basins of three rivers: Sestra, Viruyoki and Seleznevka (Fin. Rakkolnjoki). A roadmap of actions to improve the ecological status of rivers and the Gulf of Finland will be developed. Measures to reduce nutrient loads and public awareness help to achieve these results.

Dmitry Filippenko from Kaliningrad and Vladimir Zuev from the Republic of Belarus spoke about activities of River Watch network in Neman river basin, and also about nutrients in drinking waters and microplastic in water bodies, actions of public consultation groups. Local residents can not only watch the rivers, but also report to the responsible authorities about violations, participate in cleaning coasts and water bodies protection actions.

Maria Staniszewska from Poland spoke about important role of farmers in water resources conservation and adaptation to climate change, presented recommendations on manure management measures that prevent nutrient losses. Thus, farmers save money, all organic fertilizers work in the soil, and water bodies are not polluted..

At the same days, 19th International Forum “Ecology of a Big City” was held in St. Petersburg Expoforum. Friends of the Baltic presented approaches to wastewater treatment and methods of reducing the nutrient loads on water objects at the seminar “Actual problems of water bodies protection and water management in cities and settlements”, organized by the Committee on nature management, environmental protection and ecological safety of St. Petersburg and the Neva-Ladoga Basin Water Department.

Friends of the Baltic told about NGO activities  in the Gulf of Finland area. Elena Gretchina presented main activities of Friends of the Baltic – development of Public advisory river team in Luga river basin and creation of interactive map of nutrient loads in water bodies, River Watch team activities, informational campaigns about best practices in wastewater management, the implementation of practical projects such as the construction of dry toilets. Such activities can be multiplied to other regions for the protection of water ecosystems.

Friends of the Baltic participated in the exhibition of initiatives of ecological non-profit organizations of the Forum “Ecology of a Big City”, where they presented methods of public water monitoring and educational materials about climate, energy and “green consumption”. Visitors to the exhibition could get acquainted with the materials. Anyone could take infobrochures about the connection of climate change, flooding of territories and pollution of water bodies, available methods of sewage treatment in small settlements, and manure management. The exhibition attracted the attention of laboratory equipment managers, students and residents. Such sites offer opportunities for collaboration and joint research.

Presentations here.