Today, February 9, WWF-Ukraine and Rewilding Ukraine are launching the information campaign to draw the attention of Ukrainians to the value of rivers and wetlands, which are complex natural systems providing people with many ecosystem services. The environmental organizations emphasize the need to preserve and restore the rivers and floodplains of Ukraine.
When people talk about rivers, they often imagine the streams of freshwater that flow into the sea; river water after thorough treatment can be used for drinking or irrigating the crops. But few people perceive the river as a complex balanced system consisting of thousands of elements. And only in their natural complexity can rivers and wetlands provide us with so-called ecosystem or natural services, which include not only clean water and fishery resources, but also climate regulation, flood protection, oxygen production, carbon storage, tourism and recreation, and others.
“Only living rivers that have not undergone human intervention, have not been straightened or blocked by artificial obstacles, and their banks have not been enclosed in concrete without special need, are able to perform their natural functions. Unfortunately, many rivers in Ukraine have been changed so far, and only 4% of the world’s floodplains remain in the natural state,” said Inna Hoch, Freshwater Manager, WWF-Ukraine. “People often don’t realize how many benefits a healthy river gives them. Our awareness campaign is designed to emphasize the importance of rivers and wetlands and the need to preserve them in their natural state.
Nowadays, nature-based solutions are increasingly popular around the world. They are based on the understanding of natural processes and the realization that nature knows better than man. Such solutions are more effective and, moreover, much cheaper than artificial structures and solutions. Construction and maintenance of artificial structures may take decades and cost a lot of money. It is not necessary to protect the city from floods if the river flows in a natural arm and goes freely in the floodplain. If you maintain or restore floodplains and areas of shallow waters, fish and birds will return to the river, the microclimate of the region will be favorable and mild, there will be more oxygen and less greenhouse gases in the air, and more.
“The information campaign consisting of a series of visual materials, online and offline events, should draw the attention of Ukrainians to rivers and wetlands, show the value of nature-based solutions. Rivers are a valuable natural heritage and a basis for our future. People have almost learned to appreciate forests, but rivers are still underestimated. Our organizations, which have been working for many years to preserve and restore wetlands in the Danube delta and other regions, have joined forces for a common goal – the preservation of Ukraine’s rivers,” added Mykhailo Nesterenko, Executive Director of Rewilding Ukraine.
Information campaign “Living rivers are more than just water!” is the first step in the cooperation of the environmental organizations. In the future, WWF-Ukraine and Rewilding Ukraine plan to implement joint initiatives to restore rivers and wetlands in the Danube Delta.
Read articles from the series “Living rivers are more than just water!” (section is updated as articles are published):