Mapping barriers in the Prut & Siret river basins, Ukraine

Introduction

The Prut and Siret rivers, integral components of the Danube River basin, encompass a vast and diverse landscape of over 8,000 rivers within a 75,140 square km basin in the Ukrainian Carpathians. This region is home to approximately a million people and faces anthropogenic pressures from various industries. Despite its ecological significance, the basin’s obsolete barriers have not been comprehensively assessed in the last two decades. The Prut and Siret rivers serve as crucial habitats for diverse terrestrial and aquatic species, including migratory and endangered ones, contributing to numerous biodiversity hotspots within the catchments.

At a glance

Project typeBarrier identification and prioritisation
Project statusLive
CountryUkraine
RiverPrut and Siret River Basins
Focal speciesHucho hucho, Salmo trutta, Acipenser ruthenus, Ursus arctos, Sabanejewia aurata, Thymallus arcticus, Eudontomyzon mariae, Lutra lutra
Websitehttps://wwf.ua/

Project context and opportunity

The lack of updated information on barriers within the basin over the past two decades presents a unique opportunity for a comprehensive field investigation. This project aims to conduct thorough fieldwork, identifying and documenting all types of barriers to prioritise them for removal, enhance ecological water states, and develop targeted protection measures. The project’s potential as a regional showcase is significant, especially for Carpathian countries sharing similar environments and economies. Engaging local communities will further facilitate identifying their needs for sustainable development, healthy rivers, and ecosystem services.

Project aims

The project seeks to achieve its objectives through a multi-faceted approach. The initial phases involve a desktop study to assess river issues and identify obsolete barriers. Subsequently, comprehensive fieldwork within the Prut and Siret River basins will be conducted to systematically identify, document, and create a GIS-based barrier database. The project will culminate in the design of an interactive map showcasing identified barriers earmarked for removal. Engaging local communities and authorities throughout these processes will foster collaboration and ensure the project aligns with the needs and aspirations of the region’s inhabitants, contributing to sustainable development and the restoration of these vital river ecosystems.

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