Southern coast of the Gulf of Finland: nature versus construction

May 14th, Friends of the Baltic, together with the Centre of expertise «ECOM» with the support of Municipal Unit of Lomonosov town held a business bus excursion, devoted to the natural values of southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. The focus of the tour - the pieces of the coast, where there are prospects for the conservation of natural areas, but lack of decisions and regimes, which ensure their safety.
The participants of excursion - three sides whose interests usually face when discussion and practice comes to development and nature protection - power, local residents and environmental experts. One of the tour announcer Alexander Karpov, director of the center ECOM (ECOM center of expertise is involved in protecting the environmental rights of citizens) explained to participants that the green area of the suburb continually shrinks and if its not «reserved» (i.e. have protection status), it will decrease, settling down for new construction. Unfortunately, our «endless Russian space» is not endless, and now it is just the time when we need to work towards tightening environmental legislation. In 2015 general plan of the city and territorial planning of the Leningrad region will be approved, and now it’s the time to inspect natural areas, which can still be saved.
The first stop of the tour was the river Strelka. In the bottom of the river one of its branches powers the system of hydraulic engineering constructions of the Konstantinovsky Palace. Dam closed the spawning way for Baltic salmon. In many countries, there are roundabout channels or stepped passes for fish, but in our region there is no such projects. Biologists doubting the possibility of survival for this species, the state of the water also affects the population.
According to Olga Senova, example of the river Strelka visibly shows that any design, any construction can carry both positive and negative consequences. Landscape projects of 18-19 century created a beautiful ponds in our parks, but destroyed the conditions for Baltic salmon. The project should be considered with regard to all of its benefits and negative impacts, damages, which will arise from its implementation.
The next stop of the tour was the unexplored forest near the platform Krasnye Zori. In 2012 it was included into the category of «urban forests», but it did not obtain the protective. The inhabitants of the elite village located nearby did not notice the forest, for them it’s the place to throw garbage.
A huge part of the natural territory near the forest and a cottage village, was given for the construction of a Golf club. This land is fenced for several years, an ambitious project found neither the consumer nor the developer.
In English Park of Peterhof, the discussion touched upon the transport issues. Peace of the park will be destroyed by new road, the surrounding area too - by exhaust fumes, dust and other anthropogenic factors. One of the alternatives will require serious decisions and investments of Russian Railways, but consideration of all alternatives should be done to select the option with the minimum social and ecological damages.
The following stops are interesting for their recreational resources: the beach in the village of Martyshkino and bulk ground of port Yantar. According to Alexander Karpov, St. Petersburg, which is located by the sea, has a huge deficit of places where you can relax by the water. If you divide the length of the existing beaches on the number of residents, it will turn out that every in the city had about 1 cm. So the "contact zones” of shore and water, suitable for recreation, must be protected as they are valuable (there is an internet information resource that will help to gather the information about such territories on one map, which then will be usefull for ecologists, biologists and activists, involved in the protection of natural areas of St. Petersburg. More detailed information can be found here
The next stop was the Menshikov channel, a historical place and beautiful territory. Here without any research methods and tools you understand that the object of cultural heritage of Federal significance, which the channel is now, «dies». The amount of garbage is enormous, mountains of plastic bottles in the water create a feeling of unreality.
In the Olgin Kanal village, which is cut off from the sea by construction of multifunctional port complex Bronka, a local resident Vladislav Lins told us about how this territory looked like before the construction. According to his words, it was a great beach, where local people rested, now it’s scary even to lower your feet in the water. Village is «outside the law» - people live there for many decades, but on the map of the city, this area is marked as a port area.
Next was Plavni Kroncolonyi - wonderful natural area between Menshikovskiy channel and the port of Bronka. This is reeds thickets in shallow water, where there are a lot of small aquatic invertebrates, fish, and therefore – food for birds. The first draft of a specially protected natural territory (SPNT) in this place covered more than 4 km of coastline. After the appearance of the port project Bronka plans for protected areas were cut to only 2 km. And now this stripped-down piece is included into a new SPNT project «southern coast of the Neva Bay, which is not yet implemented. If the appetites of the port of Bronka would grow - it is not excluded that a SPNT project again will be shrieked. We can lose this nature territory.
Creation of an adequate regime of nature conservation in all those pieces of nature that we saw, would help our city to protect those areas, which is still possible to save for our descendants.
The result of the trip is the understanding that there are enough people interested in preservation of coastal nature, protection of the existing and creation of new recreation areas. And it is not only people from public organizations or experts, ecologists. They are city planners and legislators, and representatives of business, for which the nature is an important part of the comfortable environment for their business activities and potential customers. It would be great if designers of the new objects see not just a line on the map, but also understood that each line crosses the living nature. And it would help them to select the alternative with the least damage to the people and other inhabitants of nature.

Yandex citirovania