Botchi River estuary

Botchi River estuary

Botchi full rapid assessment

The Botchi River watershed is situated in Northern Primorye. It drains the eastern slope of the Sikhote-Alin mountain range and flows into the northern Sea of Japan. The Sikhote-Alin has not been glaciated and is consequently a refuge for such species of tertiary flora and fauna as Korean pine, yew, Amur grapes, Amur tiger, Sakhalin taimen and Sakhalin (green) sturgeon, as well as such northern species as larch, great bilberry, crowberry, reindeer, kuksha, and Dolly Varden char. The Botchi watershed forms a border of natural ranges of many species. Within the Sikhote-Alin range there is the highest density of populations of wild boar, Manchurian deer, bear, otter, bobcat and wolverine; several pairs of Amur tiger live there permanently. The bird fauna is very rich, including some bird species from the Red Book of the Northern Russian Far East.

The diversity of freshwater fish in the Botchi is great – at least 16 species. The most numerous salmonids in the river are pink salmon and Dolly Varden char. There are also large numbers of cherry (masu) salmon, white-spotted char, chum salmon and Amur grayling. The most important fish of the watershed is the sea-run or Sakhalin taimen, the oldest species of salmonids on Earth. The Botchi reserve is one of the most promising areas for preservation of this unique and relatively little-studied fish.