Mainstreaming biodiversity
conservation into Russia's energy
sector policies and operations

Kemerovo Oblast. Projects Contribution.

In 2017, the coal mining companies that are partnered with the Project fulfilled the obligations under their agreements. Most of the Project’s works planned for the Kemerovo Oblast have either been completed or are reaching the final stage:

-  The final version of the Compendium of innovative solutions for biodiversity conservation for the coal mining sector will be prepared by mid-2017. The Compendium has already been used as a methodology basis for the reference book on the best available technologies “Mining Industry. General Processes and Approaches” approved by the Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology on 15 December, 2016. Nine solutions and practices described in the Compendium have been included in the draft National Standard “Best Available Technologies. Rehabilitation of Damaged Lands. Restoration of Biological Diversity”;

-  A geoportal on the environmental sensitivity of the Kemerovo Oblast has been launched. The portal offers data on the state of the biota, rare plant and animal species, protected areas, boundaries of coal-mining sites, locations of disturbed lands and other data. Scientists involved in developing the portal worked out methods that help to rank various areas of the Kuznetsk Basin by their value class. The information analysis system of the portal is designed for monitoring, gathering, storage and processing of data on the biodiversity of the Oblast. The Department of Natural Resources and Environment of the Kemerovo Oblast confirmed it used the GIS Conservation of Biodiversity in the Kemerovo Oblast in assessing threats to the region’s biodiversity, preparing a list of subsurface allotments (common commercial minerals), and performing audits as part of the government environmental oversight (http://biodiv.ict.sbras.ru/). The system’s information analysis base helps the Department to keep the Kemerovo Oblast Red Book (including rendering information to economic entities on whether Kemerovo Oblast Red Book species of animals, plants or fungi occur / do not occur in areas, which they intend to develop, and issuing recommendations on offsetting measures aimed at endangered species conservation.) The Department has signed an agreement with the Kemerovo branch of the Institute for Computation Technologies (Russian Academy of Sciences) on utilisation and enrichment of the geoportal, which proves that the region needs this tool and intends to use in the future. (http://www.opko42.ru/index.php/news/3673-02-12-2016);

-  A municipal-level GIS, created in the Oblast and deployed on the Novokuznetsk municipal district official web-site, is used by the Project in course of the strategic environmental assessment of this district’s development programme. (http://www.admnkr.ru/karta.html). The Project’s contribution will be in the form of proposals to the social and economic development programme, which is currently being revised. (http://sociallab.city/news/2016/12/19/seminar_sea/). The assessment results will also be used by the RF Ministry of Natural Resources in its SEA methodology improvement activities during the Year of Ecology in Russia;

-  The Project provided methodology assistance to SUEK-Kuzbass in course of hydrobiomonitoring surveys, which one of the company’s mines did on the river Meret in the areas where treated mine water is discharged. The results of the surveys confirmed that the treated mine water is far cleaner than the natural river water, and discharging it will dilute contaminants occurring in the river thus affecting the aquatic organism populations positively. This technique will be included in the appropriate BAT Reference Book;

-  The Project has helped to survey the impact of coal mining on ecosystems in the Karakan Ridge refuge, Kemerovo Oblast. The data derived from the survey offers a reliable evidence of a relation between the distance from the monitoring sites to the dust source, and the reaction of certain plants. The materials collected helped to draft the Guidelines on Industrial Ecomonitoring Using the Parameters of Plants’ Physiological Reaction to Stress Factors. The methodology was discussed extensively in a meeting of the Project Working Group and the Kemerovo Oblast Environmental Public Council. The outcomes of this discussion helped the Kuzbasskaya Toplivnaya coal mining company to confirm its intent to continue testing and implementing the recommendations as a corporate standard;

-  The Project engaged international consultants to carry out an independent assessment of the biodiversity mitigation measures in Kuzbass and, specifically, value of ecosystem services of the Karakan Ridge. This work is a major contribution in the understanding of the mitigation measure hierarchy in Russia;

-  Furthermore, SDS-Ugol, one of the Project’s partners in the coal-mining sector, financed and carried out a monitoring survey under an agreement with the Project. As a result, the company has developed and deployed a new integrated information system, which provides dynamic environment assessments by combining model simulations with data derived from IRS and field surveys. Three SDS-Ugol ecologists have been trained. The total area for collecting monitoring data is 50 sq.km. In 2016, this monitoring helped to discover a population of Siberian Trout Lily (Erythronium sibiricum), a Russian Red Book species. Owing to this discovery, the company decided to undertake additional offsetting measures, providing financial and other assistance to a survey for ecological validation of the establishment of the Kostenkovo Rocks nature monument (formally established in July 2016) http://ecokem.ru/kostenkovskie-skaly-poluchili-oficialnyj-status-oopt/). These activities aim to support unique rocky steppe ecosystems as some of them will be lost after a new opencast coal mine begins operating;

-  SDS-Ugol and the Project took joint steps to conserve a population of Ural Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch.) that was also found in the mining allotment. Scientists together with volunteers from among the company personnel and local residents replanted 862 liquorice roots from 420 ha to a safe place with similar environment conditions (97 out of the 420 ha are within the future coal mining area, and will be destroyed). SDS-Ugol intends to use the methods proven with the Project’s assistance in the future when it discovers Red Book species in other mining allotments. (http://kemoblast.ru/news/prom/2016/05/16/plantatsiyu-krasnoknizhnoj-uralskoj-solodki-sozdali-uchenye-v-promyshlennovskom-rajone.html);

-  A Rating of Mining Companies’ Environmental Responsibility, developed on the Project’s initiative, is a one-of-a-kind tool designed to encourage companies to disclose corporate information on biodiversity conservation and the associated expenses.This rating enables to compare coal-mining companies’ levels of environmental responsibility and their impact on the environment in general and biodiversity in particular. The results of the first rating were published in March 2017. The rating will be revised yearly. This will demonstrate companies’ achievements in environmental impact reduction and industry trends in general;

-  Efforts are underway to establish the regional protected area Bachatskiye Fells for conservation of steppe areas in the places of indigenous minorities’ residence. Necessary information has been collected and the relevant materials prepared and submitted to the Kemerovo Oblast Department of Natural Resources and Environment for state ecological appraisal. According to estimates, this PA will be established by the end of 2017 in the status of a refuge (zakaznik). It will conserve the largest surviving steppe area on the Bachatskiye Fells and, as a comprehensive steppe refuge, will play a major role in improving the PA system of the Kemerovo Oblast;

-  In 2016, taking the coal mining in the Kemerovo Oblast as an example, the Project prepared the “Businessman’s Guide on Social Dialogue with Small Indigenous Groups: an Algorithm”. The Guide will serve as an aid identifying practical mechanisms and the sequence of activities to be undertaken by coal-mining companies in order to take into account the rights of indigenous minorities and make arrangements for an efficient and equitable cooperation in the region. The Guide is designed for practical use by coal-mining companies, and is a non-regulatory document. In 2017, an international expert will be engaged to elaborate the Guide by adding more materials on international experience and practices;

-  A Strategic Environmental Assessment of the coal mining area development plan / programme for the Kemerovo Oblast that takes into consideration biodiversity conservation is underway.The first project for the SEA is the Novokuznetsk municipal district, which has a very diverse nature and is exposed to high human-induced loads. The SEA aims here to collect information, which will be used to adjust the Comprehensive Social and Economic Development Programme to take into account biodiversity conservation. The works are to be completed in 2017.

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