At the beginning of November, the work on restoring the connection of the Staronekrasovsky floodplains in Ukraine with the Danube River was completed. For the first time in many years, the Hromadsky canal has become flowing again, which will bring Staronekrasovsky floodplains back to life. The work, carried out by the Izmail Department of Water Management, Rewilding Ukraine and the Center for Regional Studies, is the first step towards restoring the Lung, Safyany and Katlabuh lakes.
The Hromadsky сanal was built in the 1970s to improve water exchange between the Staronekrasovsky floodplains, Lung and Safyany lakes, and the Danube River. It is also one of the channels connecting Lake Katlabukh with the Danube. But over time, it shallowed and the water stopped flowing into the nearby floodplains and lakes.
“The state of Lakes Lung and Safyany has been a matter of great concern in recent years. We saw problems especially in 2020 when Lake Lung became critically shallow, smoothly dried, fish frosts, hydrogen sulfide emissions and odors were observed, and locals could hardly take water for irrigation because the water moved away from the shores and water intakes. To solve these problems, the surrounding villages ordered the development of a technical project to restore water exchange, but it was not funded, unfortunately” – says Panas Zhechkov, director of the Izmail Department of Water Management.
Restoration of the flow of the Hromadsky canal will improve the water exchange of Staronekrasovsky floodplains and adjacent lakes with the Danube, which will lead to the rehabilitation of these stagnant reservoirs and improve the ecological condition of floodplains with a total area of over 1,500 hectares. Water levels in the floodplains and Lakes Lung and Safyany will rise, waterlogging will stop, and fish will breed and feed in the lakes again, attracting waterfowl and other animals. In addition, the surrounding communities will be provided with clean water for household and irrigation needs. Realizing this, the Safyany Territorial Community and the Prydunayska Niva company also supported the work to restore the flow of the canal.
“Our goal is to bring the Katlabuh-Lung-Safyany lake system closer to the natural state. Restoring the flow of the Hromadsky canal is the first step towards this goal. The next step will be to improve the connection between Staronekrasovsky floodplains and Lake Katlabuh. And in the future we will need to improve the water exchange between Katlabuh and the Danube near the village Kislitsy. We would like to complete a project that was started by the World Wide Fund for Nature about 15 years ago. An expert assessment of the condition of the unfinished bridge crossing is currently being carried out, the further actions will be planned based on it, ”explains Oleg Dyakov, an ecosystem restoration specialist at Rewilding Ukraine.
Hydrotechnical works were carried out on the basis of the project of the flow restoration of the channel “Hromadsky”, prepared by specialists of the Institute Pivdengiprovodgosp.
Large-scale restoration of nature in the Danube Delta began in 2019 with the financial support of the Endangered Landscapes Program. Rewilding Ukraine together with local partners is working to return the Danube lakes, wetlands, and steppes to the natural state, reintroduce large herbivores to restore natural grazing, develop ecological tourism in the region and raise environmental awareness of local communities, and more.