Creation of the Vashutkinsky Nature Sanctuary discussed in the Nenets Autonomous Area
Public discussions have been held in the Nenets Autonomous Area on the creation of a specially protected area, the Vashutkinsky Nature Sanctuary, the local government said on its website.
Representatives from the Nenets Department of Natural Resources, Environment and Agribusiness and other nature protection agencies answered questions from the public.
The planned nature reserve would help preserve the unique environment of the region's largest Vashutkinsky, Padimeisky and Kharbeisky lake systems. These provide living grounds for water fowl and include important fish-breeding lakes. According to the public hearings, the creation of a specially protected area would not affect the economic activity of land owners, lessees or water users.
Under the project, small indigenous people of the North will be allowed to breed reindeer, collect wild bird eggs, and pick mushrooms, berries and medicinal herbs for personal use at the Vashutkinsky Nature Reserve. Commercial and recreational fishing will also be permitted in the reserve, along with commercial hunting (except for water fowl) and regulated recreational and tourist activities.
Prospecting, exploration and production of mineral resources in the nature reserve is possible with a permit from the Nenets Department of Natural Resources, Environment and Agribusiness. Unauthorized travel in the tundra and the use of boats with outboard engines will be prohibited during the waterfowl breeding season from June to July. Unregulated tourism and commercial fishing for valuable fish species in their feeding ground will be also prohibited.
There are seven regional specially protected areas in the Nenets Autonomous Area. Their total territory is 409,500 hectares or 2.3 percent of the total. They help preserve the world's most fragile Arctic ecosystems, namely the rare tundra and forest tundra plants and also animals (polar bears and walruses).
By 2021, the Nenets area will have five specially protected areas: North Timan Nature Park, the Pakhanchesky, Khaipudyrsky and Vashutkinsky nature sanctuaries, and the largest of them all, Yugorsky Nature Park. When they are established, the total area of specially protected areas in the Nenets region will be 1.5 million hectares, or 9 percent of the region's total area.