Istra River Basin Small Watershed Management Project
Istra River Basin Small Watershed Management Project.
The second international CBEP project that EPA Region 7 developed was the Istra River Basin Small Watershed Management Project. It was a successful, three-year joint U.S./Russian environmental management project within the Istra Region, Moscow Oblast of the Russian Federation.
Evidence provided by prominent Russian organizations and public health and environmental agencies indicated that the water supply for the City of Moscow was threatened by contamination from industrial and agricultural wastes and the environmental load from the large population in the Moscow Oblast. Since the Istra River system, located northwest of Moscow, provides approximately 15-20 percent of the drinking water for the City, more than 12 million Russian citizens were at risk for health problems.
Initiation of the Istra Project
In 1994, EPA signed a cooperative agreement with the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University, designating the Center as the principal subcontractor responsible for implementing the Istra Project in Russia. EPA Region 7 was responsible for oversight and management of the cooperative agreement. The Istra Project introduced environmental management methods to address the water quality problems observed in the Istra River watershed.
Istra Project, which officially began in 1995, consisted of the following primary CBEP components:
- Environmental Education
- Geographic Information Systems
- Agriculture - facilitation of innovative methods by Iowa State University to enhance practices and increase crop production
- Public Participation
The use of the watershed management approach in the Istra Region yielded significant and important results. All milestones in the project's composition timetable were successfully achieved, resulting in a management plan for the Istra watershed, with specific environmental protection recommendations and measures for the Istra Region.
All operating parties (ministries, state committees, Oblast, and regional administrations) endorsed the plan. The cooperative implementation and management structure established by the Istra Project has created professional working framework and structure to support the plan's implementation.
Specific goals established within individual project components included:
- the creation of a base of critical environmental data on the Istra watershed and the introduction of tools to effectively manage and utilize this data;
- the creation, introduction, and implementation of an environmental education program for schoolchildren and the general public aimed at raising the level of consciousness of environmental issues within the population;
- the introduction and implementation of specific demonstration programs aimed at providing concrete solutions to waste management problems present in the Istra watershed, as well as adaptable in other watersheds;
- the creation, introduction, and implementation of a water quality monitoring program directed at establishing an accurate picture of water quality in the watershed while illustrating the most effective use of their limited resources;
- the introduction and implementation of a program to facilitate the interaction between public organizations and governmental bodies in the sphere of environmental protection aimed at building the capacity of both. Together they will create new policies and institutions supporting sustainable development;
- the creation of a small watershed management plan for the Istra watershed that is also suitable for adaptation and application in other smaller watersheds in Russia.
- Background research and direct observations indicated that two of the chief threats to water quality and the natural environment of the Istra Region are animal waste generated by large livestock farms and solid household waste.
- Point sources of pollution associated with specific enterprises and nonpoint sources associated with runoff from populated areas also present significant threats to the environment.>
- The watershed management approach proposes not only the application of scientific methods to alleviate specific environmental problems but also involves building partnerships among watershed residents and securing their participation in making decisions about the development and maintenance of their watershed.
EPA Region 7 Contact
Kathleen L. Fenton
CARE Program Manager