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

Sakhalin Oblast. Projects Contribution.

Companies extracting hydrocarbons on Sakhalin off-shore fields carry out a lot of conservation activities, NGOs play a significant role, and the Environmental Council of the Sakhalin Oblast together with its Biodiversity Working Group are quite active in the region, too. The UNDP/GEF - RF Ministry of Natural Resources Project focuses on providing assistance to existing projects and initiatives, and on consolidating best biodiversity conservation experience gained here, in order to replicate it in other Russian regions. By now, all the main Project activities in this demo area have either been completed or are nearing completion.

- The Project has prepared a Biodiversity Conservation Strategy of the Sakhalin Oblast. The purpose of this activity was to work out and include in the state strategic planning of the Sakhalin Oblast administration a component aimed at the conservation and sustainable management of biodiversity; to this end, the Project had to work out a Biodiversity Conservation Strategy of the Sakhalin Oblast (“the Strategy”) and offer it to the Administration for review and approval. In 2016, upon reviewing the draft Strategy, the Oblast Interdepartmental Environmental Council recommended the regional Ministry of Forestry and Hunting to approve it in a legal act, and all the executive bodies concerned to use the Strategy in making arrangements for biodiversity conservation operations in the Sakhalin Oblast (Minutes No. 2 of 28 October, 2016).
Based on the results of the review, the Interdepartmental Environmental Council also advised the Sakhalin Oblast Ministry of Forestry and Hunting and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection to adopt the necessary regulatory acts aimed at harmonising the regional laws on biodiversity conservation, protected areas and environment protection with the federal laws.
The Council supported the Project’s proposal to draft a Biodiversity Conservation Action Plan of the Sakhalin Oblast using the approved Strategy as a basis.

Guidelines on Large Cetacean Monitoring and a Set of Measures to Reduce Human Impact in Course of Economic Operations in Russian Marine Waters prepared. This book is based on the monitoring of the grey whale, one of the Project’s indicator species, by the Project’s partner Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, Ltd. It aims to raise the efficiency of Russian laws on environment protection and to lend companies support with marine bioresource conservation in course of their operations including industrial environmental control, ecomonitoring, assessment of possible impacts on the environment from proposed operations and other activities, and preparing materials for state environmental expert review. The above recommendations also enable government authorities to exercise regulatory functions in the area of environment protection including state environmental supervision, state environmental expert assessment, and state environmental monitoring.

- Actions for restoration of the Sakhalin taimen population (Project indicator species on the RF Red Book, Sakhalin Oblast Red Book and the IUCN Red List) carried out. According to expert estimates, while the Sakhalin taimen population has been decreasing everywhere, in the rivers of North-Eastern Sakhalin there still are aggregations of this species that are relatively safe. Nevertheless, due to plans for the island’s industrial development, which includes off-shore projects, combined with particular features of the species’ biology (it ages slowly, has relatively low fertility, and feeds in coastal waters), its future stable existence in this district is under threat. In this situation, urgent efforts must be used to prevent further reduction in the population of the species.

In March 2015, the Project signed a cooperation agreement with Gazprom Extraction Shelf Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, OOO, on the development and implementation of activates aimed at conservation and restoration of the Sakhalin taimen populations in the areas where hydrocarbons are extracted in the North-Eastern Sakhalin. According to this agreement, the Project provided financial support to Sakhalin taimen monitoring in the river Nabil and the Nabil Bay. For its part, Gazprom Extraction Shelf Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk continued its own monitoring programme, which included research of the Sakhalin taimen population habitats in the river Nabil, assessment of poaching levels, and a set of activities aimed at educating local communities.

Based on the results of surveys conducted in 2015-2016, a number of basic conclusions on how to arrange for Sakhalin taimen monitoring in the river Nabil and Nabil bay were made, and then described in the following documents:
- proposals on a set of measures for the conservation of the Sakhalin taimen for Gazprom Extraction Shelf Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and other oil and gas companies developing hydrocarbon fields in the North-Eastern Sakhalin;
- a monitoring programme aimed to survey the state of the Sakhalin taimen population in the water bodies of the North-Eastern Sakhalin for Gazprom Extraction Shelf Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and other oil and gas companies for the period after 2016.

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