Project ”Contribution to the wetland rehabilitation: pilot project for Dniester Old Riverbed”
The project ”Contribution to the wetland rehabilitation: pilot project for Dniester Old river bed” was implemented by SE BIOTICA in 2018 within the project Strengthening the institutional framework in the water and sanitation sector in the Republic of Moldova, project financed by The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and The Austrian Development Agency.
The project came as a first step in improving the situation of the Dniester Old river bed called ”Blind Dniester”. That is a unique nature monument appeared in the mid of 19th century as the result of strong earthquake and change of the Dniester River mainstream. In conformity with resolutions of the Ramsar Convention the Blind Dniester together with adjacent areas (Turkish Garden Landscape Reserve in the lowland and Stinca Talmaz on slopes) is assessed as the Wetland of National Importance that supports important flora and fauna including species of international concern and numerous migratory bird. Sector of the Blind Dniester together with the Turkish Garden is designated as Core Area of the National Ecological Network and described as the NATURA 2000 site. The water body is used for irrigation therefore some water pumping from the mainstream took place. A long time earlier the Blind Dniester was used for fishing and recreation.
The oxbow (with total length near 42 km currently) had two natural connections with the mainstream and, later, through water locks created in the first part of 20th century simultaneously with start of embankment of adjacent lowland. The water locks were neglected during the Soviet time when water recharge was being carried out through pumping that became limited in current economy conditions. There is also some recharge from river flood through the system of irrigation station that became powerful during the rare especially strong floods. The oxbow is silted strongly by sediments that interrupted physical integrity and significant part of the bed is dry now. Local population appealed to authorities not once asking to restore the Blind Dniester. The fundamental ecological restoration (engineering design, creation of two new water locks in order to take river water of significant floods by gravity, cleaning the river bed and forest planting on the protective riverside bands) is assessed with cost near 2 million Euro.
The situation in 2017
However, there are palliative steps to improve situation at least partly. One of these is to increase conveyance capacity of a part of the irrigation system receiving flood water from the Dniester by gravity. There is an engineering project from 2011 for restoration of the irrigation station and some cleaning the river bed.
Thus the project goal was to contribute to the increasing of the capacity of water recharge from floods through cleaning the approach channel and improvement in the pumping station.
In the frame of the project a part of the engineering project from 2011, including costs was updated. Based on the project and the updated cost estimate, the cleaning of the TS-1 pumping station, its storage chamber and the pipes leading to the lock were done. Excavation works have been carried out with the excavator of the collection reservoir of the irrigation system. At the place where the waterlocks were installed, the mud was cleaned down to the bottom of water pipes with the diameter of 1200 mm. The bottom of the reservoir of pumping station with a width of 25 m wide, which is reinforced with concrete slabs, was cleaned on a length of 50 m. The volume of the excavation in the reservoir was 1850 m3.
The metal construction of the waterlock with a height of approx. 6m, width approx. 1.5m was prefabricated by an authorized specialist in the field. In order to install the waterlock the water inlet pipes with a diameter of 1200 mm were blocked and the water was pumped several times. The lifting / lowering mechanisms have been connected. Around the reservoir a protective fence made of metal pillars and "rabbit" mesh with a length of 20 m and a height of 1.5 m was done . Land works have been done.
Working in 2018
By executing project activities the passage of water through the waterlock and its functionality was assured. The water lock will be managed by Stefan-Voda irrigation station to ensure filling and evacuation of waters a necessary.
A part of the canal connecting the waterlock with blind Dniester was cleaned on a length of approx. 250 m with the volume of 5500 m3.
BIOTICA received for additional works financial recourses from Talmaza and Gradnita villages, as well as from the Stefan District Council. This money were used to clean a part of Blind Dniester in the central part of Talmaza village on a length of 300m and to remove two illegal bridges over the channel that stop the water course.
At the end, the works were verified by a commission for receiving works that included specialists in the field, the mayors of the village of Talmaza and Gradinita and the representatives of the Environment Protection Inspectorate Ştefan-Voda.
Thus, the connection between Dniester and Blind Dniester was improved in order to stop the accelerated degradation of Blind Dniester.
In the frame of the project it was organizedan an information campaign on the importance of Blind Dniester and the necessity to protect.
Three meetings were organized with the representatives of Talmaza, Copanca and Gradinita villages where was discussed about the actual situation of the Lower Dniester Ramsar Site and its value, the value of the Blind Dniester, the legal and illegal irrigation, the illegal land use of on the bank of the Blind Dniester, the actions which are to be implemented in the Lower Dniester area and specifically in the Blind Dniester. As a result of this campaign, in the development plans of the village of Talmaza and Gradinita were introduced provisions related to the Blind Dniester, as well as local and national financial resources began to be sought.
In Gradinita more than 80% of the landowners near the Blind Dniester, in Talmaza more than 60% of the landowners near the Blind Dniester, and in Copanca - approx. 50% actively participated in the meetings and were interested in solving the problem of the Blind Dniester.