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Ukrainian scientists call for alternative variants of the channel "Danube - Black sea"

The Institute of Hydrobiology (National Academy of Science of Ukraine) has carried out an ecological estimation of variants of navigable waterway from the Danube to the Black sea. 23 highly skilled experts came to the conclusion that the civil-engineering design and operation of the deep-water ship channel through Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve on Bystroye estuary cannot be approved neither from legal, nor from environmental positions.

The Law of Ukraine "About Nature Reserved Fund" directly forbids any economic and other activity that contradicts to the special purpose of natural biosphere reserves or equal areas, breaks natural processes or threats by the negative influence on natural complexes. As such activity the construction of structures, roads and railways and other objects of transport and communication which are not connected to activity of natural reserves are recognised. The Water Code of Ukraine also confirms this rule.

On the basis of the given materials the experts made a conclusion that the construction of the ship channel through the Bystroye estuary will cut reserved zone half-and-half. In this area very valuable objects are concentrated, and if the ship channel were built according to this variant, its operation would put significant damage to natural ecosystems, and its negative influence would be constant. Unique water and ground ecosystems of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve would be broken and transformed into usual ecosystems inhabited with usual species of plants and animals.

This pessimistic forecast is based not only on domestic experience, but also on the world experience of estimation of negative ecological consequences of hydraulic engineering construction and creation of navigable ways. In particular, Mr. Irvine A.R. van Benneckom, the director general of the Institute of Internal Waters Management and Waste Water Purification (RIZA) in the Netherlands addressed the letter to B.E. Patton, the president of a National Academy of Science of Ukraine. In his letter he warns about a number of serious negative consequences of construction of a navigable way through the delta of Danube to the Black sea.

The deep-water ship channel "the Danube - the Black sea" is necessary to Ukraine to maintain the needs of sea and river transport and constantly to develop the areas near Danube. Nevertheless, this problem should be solved by common search of the optimum decisions, to search for really alternative variants of a deep-water ship channel "the Danube - Black sea" outside of the most active zone of Danube delta and of the area of Danube Biosphere Reserve.

The commission of experts considers, that for maintenance of guaranteed navigation on the line "the Danube - the Black sea" (taking in view the international status of the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve) the National Academy of Science of Ukraine should consider an opportunity of navigable lines, which would pass beyond the boundaries of the zone of strict reserve, on the territories and water areas changed by human activity, in particular through the channel with locks "the Ochakov branch - Zhebrianskaya bay" (10 kms of the Ochakov branch), the line of the channel along the existing channel "the Danube - the Sassyck basin" and other, for example, the locked channel "the Solomon branch - the Zhebrianskaya bay ", the line of which would bypass the part of Zhebriansky natural complex, which is valuable from the point of view of nature conservation.

So, the experts insist on consideration of alternative variants of the navigable waterway line and categorically object to the offered variant of the project.

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