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

Lower Volga. Projects Contribution.

The main threats to the biodiversity of Lower Volga are the water regime and operation of the Volga-Kama reservoir cascade in general, and the Volgograd dam in particular. The reservoir system has a decisive impact both on the river and terrestrial habitats.

Decisions on the water regimes of the Volga-Kama cascade in general and of the Volzhskaya HPP (water pass through the Volgograd hydroengineering installation) in particular are made by the Federal Water Resources Agency on the basis of recommendations by the Interdepartmental Working Group for Volga-Kama cascade regulation, current hydrological situation in the Volga-Kama basin and the flow forecast by the Russian Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring.

The main activities during the Project have been coordinated with strategic government documents
and are in line with the Concept and the text of the Federal Target Programme “Development of the Water Management Complex of the Russian Federation in 2012-2020”.

Owing to the Project’s assistance with nature conservation activities in 2013 to 2017, including managing or changing spring water discharges, the area of restored and environmentally rehabilitated water bodies reached 875 sq.km., or 87.5 thousand ha. Furthermore, grants provided under the joint Coca-Cola / UNDP Every Drop Matters helped restore 4600 ha in the Lower Volga region. Also, the Project will be directly involved in restoring 3200 ha on the Proklyatoye lake and Kashirin creek.

As per 1 January, 2017, the following activities were completed with the Project’s support:

  • A comprehensive law of the Astrakhan Oblast on environment protection was drafted. Law of the Astrakhan Oblast No. 77/2014-OZ, dtd. 19 November 2014 “On Particular Issues of Legal Regulation of Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation in the Astrakhan Oblast” was adopted by the Astrakhan Oblast parliament on 11 November, 2014, and signed by the Governor on 19 November, 2014;
  • A range of biodiversity restoration measures based on the example of the Kashirin creek and Proklyatoye lake were carried out in accordance with the budget plan; the work was based on scientifically validated techniques for river bank cleaning and reinforcement.
  • Evaluation indicators for the state of water and near-water ecosystems on the Lower Volga exposed to human-induced loads were developed. The indicators were used to prepare guidelines monitoring that takes into account biological aspects. The monitoring guidelines are being implemented in the Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain nature park (the legal ground for introduction is a letter by the Volgograd Oblast Committee for Natural Resources and Ecology.)
  • On 30 and 31 October, 2016, on the Committee’s initiative, the region held a conference to discuss the outcomes of the activities carried out in the Lower Volga area. The Volgograd Oblast government expressed its willingness to introduce in 2017 the environmental restoration techniques that were tested and endorsed under the Project on the Kashirin creek in 2015-2016. The Volgograd Oblast Committee for Natural Resources and Ecology commissioned project documentation “Ecological Degradation of the creek Old Kashirin (Pryamitsa) and the lakes Proklyatoye, Kamyshistoye, and Kruzhnoye in the Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain (Sreedneakhtubinski district, Volgograd Oblast)” that degraded due to regulation of the spring flood. The project documentation was appraised by the State expert appraisal panel, and then approved by the Lower Volga basin water management board. The restoration activity was included on the federal financing plan for 2017 under the FTP Development of the Water Management Complex of the Russian Federation in 2012-2020.” It is expected that in the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain alone the techniques worked out under the Project will help create conditions for biodiversity restoration on more than 23,000 ha;
  • Preparation of guidelines on how to prepare a chapter on biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and restoration in the strategic planning documents of Russian Federation entities began. The authorities of the Volgograd Oblast noted that this work is quite urgent and important for the region.

© 2019