Sakhalin Prioritization Seminar Identifies Project SitesNews & Program Updates
Dr. Peter Rand, Dane Springmeyer and Nicole Portley of the Wild Salmon Center and Vladimir Ovchinnikov, WSC's Sakhalin-based consultant, ran a two-day river prioritization seminar at Sakhalin State University in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk from January 31 to February 1, 2007. The goal of the seminar was to determine the identity of three WSC network sites on Sakhalin and to establish additional Sakhalin Salmon Initiative project sites for monitoring, restoration and fisheries certification activities. The main organizations participating in the seminar were Sakhrybvod (Federal Fisheries Department), The Sakhalin Research Institute for Fisheries Oceanography (SakhNIRO), Sakhalin State University, and the Sakhalin Oblast Fisheries Department. The oil and gas industry, the Nivkh indigenous peoples and local environmental NGOs were also represented.
The seminar began with a presentation by Rand and Springmeyer detailing the results of the river prioritization process, conducted before their arrival on Sakhalin using data provided by the participating organizations. Fish species diversity, spawning area density and quality, quantity of road and pipeline crossings, relative degree of poaching, hatcheries influence and community conservation support were the main criteria used in ranking the basins. Over 200 basins were ranked, and an overall ranking, as well as rankings within Sakhalin's six Level III ecoregions, was generated. The results of the initial WSC analysis will be published this year in SakhNIRO's annual research journal.
The work of Rand and Springmeyer was used as a basis for beginning discussion and achieving consensus. The group was first tasked with choosing six rivers, one per ecoregion. When group discussion failed to achieve consensus, a vote was taken. This closed the first day of the seminar. To begin the second day, Portley presented the results of the vote and initiated additional discussion. The group expressed unanimous agreement with the results, and proceeded to choosing three of the six rivers as priorities for protected area establishment (Wild Salmon Center network sites). The Langry-Bolshaya, Kura-Naiba and Melkaya basins were selected, the first two of which consist of two adjacent basins. The three remaining basins, the Dagi, Bolshaya Uandi and Vladimirovka, were recommended as monitoring sites.
The group additionally recommended rivers for restoration and fisheries certification work. The Naiba, Lutoga and Ainskaya rivers, as well as Lake Tunaicha, were established as potential river restoration project sites. One site will be chosen among these four as the pilot project basin. Meanwhile, the specialists agreed that the Langeri river was a suitable site for fisheries certification work.
Ovchinnikov presented results from the seminar to Sakhalin vice-governor Victor Nagorni on February 19. The Administration expressed approval of the specialists' choices and promised to shortly provide recommendations regarding the river restoration pilot project site.
The research behind the prioritization process was published by Rand, Springmeyer, Portley, Malin Pinsky and Jon Bonkowski in the 2007 Annual SakhNIRO Research Journal. Read the Russian-language article.