Looking for ways to improve the situation it was decided to initiate the transboundary Project on the preservation of natural sturgeon habitats in the Ural river and securing their migration routes.
The ultimate Project goal is to establish and manage an International Ural Sturgeon Park with the active involvement of local communities in the nature conservation measures. We believe that the establishment of an International Ural Sturgeon Park can guarantee the preservation of the remaining self sustaining sturgeon population with natural reproduction and provide an opportunity for successful sturgeon stock restoration in the future.
The successful case studies and best practices in river basin management and transboundary biodiversity conservation should be conveyed to both officials and NGOs and these practices’ applicability to the region will be studied and discussed.
In order to facilitate the creation of a Sturgeon Park it was agreed to establish the Ural Basin Center for Sturgeon Conservation and to launch the Internet-project.
The purpose of the Center is to carry out Research, Education and Coordination functions related to the Ural sturgeon’s conservation and basin sustainable development. The primary Center goal would be to support sturgeon-related basin interdisciplinary research and carry out the feasibility study and drafting of the Ural Sturgeon Park proposal. Being the natural bioindicator of the river’s ecosystem health, the sturgeon’s well being depends on many aspects of anthropogenic activity in the river basin and natural environmental conditions. Thus, while the overall aim is sturgeon conservation, the Center should tackle different disciplines. In these circumstances the modeling apparatus can serve as the framework for knowledge organization.
Special attention will be paid to GIS and habitat suitability modeling through the sturgeon’s life cycle. Another important area of the Center’s planned research is legal and economic aspects of sturgeon conservation activities. We have a several preliminary agreements with local Universities to organize such Center as a Chair or the Department at these Universities to facilitate the research and education activities through the involvement of faculty and student researchers.
One of the Center activities is to launch a series of workshops to: (i) bring together the basin stakeholders, (ii)establish the network of specialists working in sturgeon-related disciplines and (iii)organize the dialog between environmental officials and local communities.
These workshops and working seminars are planned to be held starting from the beginning of the Project till the establishment of the Sturgeon park depending on the financial support available.