Expedition to the small rivers of the northern shore of the Gulf of Finland - new opportunities for cooperation


On March 29 (2021) a joint expedition of the Ecocentrum, Friends of the Baltic and partners to the Vyborg district of the Leningrad Region took place. The expedition had several tasks at once:

1. Take samples from small rivers feeding the Gulf of Finland and from their tributaries. First of all, these are the Sestra and Seleznevka - the target rivers of the Russian-Finnish project "Water meets people: learn, act and influence" (SEVIRA), as well as the Buslovka - a tributary of the Seleznevka.

2. Check out old defunct dilapidated dams on these same rivers and discuss their impact on local ecosystems.

3. Meet with the residents of the Luzhayka, find out the current situation with the quality of water supply and drinking water in this locality (we previously wrote about the problems in Luzhayka), and develop a further strategy for action.

Among the partners who participated in the expedition are the Institute of Limnology and the Baltic Nature Foundation.

The points for sampling and making express tests are specially placed in the same places as our colleagues in SEVIRA - the Institute of Limnology and Roshydromet. This will allow us to compare and calibrate the results of our field tests, which we use and distribute for public research, with the results of expert laboratory analyses of the Institute of Limnology and Roshydromet, and as a result - to identify the best methods for replication.

The coordinates of the inactive dams were provided to us by colleagues from the Baltic Nature Foundation, who are engaged in the project "Return of salmon to small rivers in the Baltic region", which includes issues on eliminating or minimizing the impact of dams on salmon populations. This is necessary for the restoration of natural ecosystems, because even an idle dam, as a technical structure, has a great impact on the life of the river. For example, because of them, salmon cannot reach their spawning grounds and stops breeding in these rivers, but if the dams are dismantled, it quickly returns to its former habitat.

The first stop on the way to Vyborg is the sampling on the Sestra river. Just at the moment when the participants of the expedition were analyzing the content of biogens in the river, the chairman of the board of the local garden association addressed them and shared her experiences about the state of the river. There was a small discussion of the organization of the management of domestic wastewater of biogenic pollutants from private homes and other possible sources of river pollution, and the expedition went to the Vyborg district.

Interesting object in the Seleznevo - remains of dams from the former Kalininskaya hydroelectric power station on the Seleznevka River. When the water level is low, it creates an impassable obstacle for spawning salmon. However, they have little chance of dismantling, because the local authorities are not interested in this.

In the Kravtsovo also there are remains of dams from the former Kravtsovskaya hydroelectric power station on Seleznevka. The situation here is complicated by the fact that it is adjacent to the building of the former factory, which was later given over to residential premises (now empty). When dismantling the dams, it is necessary to solve the issue of dismantling this dilapidated building, which is not easy at all.

The next stop of the expedition is the remains of the dam of the former Yashinskaya hydroelectric power station on the threshold of Kinterenkoski on the Buslovka River (a tributary of the Seleznevka). It is popularly called a "waterfall" - because of the large difference in the river levels before and after the dam, a waterfall really formed here. The Baltic Nature Foundation even made an ecotrope here. According to the employee of the fund, there should be no problems with the elimination of this dam.

Next, according to the plan - water sampling from Buslovka right before the water intake of the Luzhayka to compare with the results of the November expedition and analyze the dynamics of changes in water quality indicators. After that, a meeting with local residents was held, the purpose of which was to discuss the development of the situation on the quality of tap water and to select its samples for laboratory analysis. According to local residents, the situation remains the same as it was six months ago - the water is still of poor quality. The Friends of the Baltic continue their work with the state authorities to improve the situation in Luzhayka.

At the last point (the bridge over the Seleznevka at the entrance to Luzhayka), the expedition manages to combine two tasks at once - to look at the remains of the dam to raise the water level in the area of the railway bridge and to take samples in the Seleznevka.

Ecocentrum and Friends of the Baltic will continue to cooperate to monitor and preserve the water quality of small rivers in the Leningrad Region and will continue to attract new and old partners to their activities and projects.