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EVENTS/NEWS / Dredging plans on Chereş (Széles patak) and Mare (Aszó pataka) streams (Cetăţuia, Lower Ciuc Basin Natura 2000 Site ROSCI0007)

27 march 2013 - no comments
Recently the number of complaints from the owners of agricultural lands increased against beavers (Castor fiber), protected species, which was recently reintroduced in Romania. Beavers are constructing small dams on the streams, if the level of the water is not deep enough for them to swim. In case the level of water is increasing (rain, melting snow) due to the dams, the water can temporary come out from the river bed and inundate the agricultural lands of the people and sometimes agricultural roads too.

In case of the agricultural roads the problem is not caused totally by the beavers, because if the water can form ponds on the road, then it means that the road is in a degraded condition and the cause does not matter (rain or beavers), the water will be still on the road. When it comes to arable lands and pastures, it can be understood the objection, if the water comes out from the riverbed due to the beavers. The permanent presence of the water on agricultural lands makes impossible the cultivation. The problem must be treated with professionalism.

The most of the complains came from the Sânsimion commune and its surroundings, which covers a big part of the Lower Ciuc Basin Natura 2000 Site, with some streams appropriate for the beavers. On March 5th 2013 we got notifications from the Council of Sânsimion and the Water Management System of Harghita County, Olt Water Branch. In the notification of the WMSH, we were informed that for 2013 it is planned the dredging of Chereş and Mare (near Cetăţuia, Sânsimion commune) streams, both being on the territory of the Lower Ciuc Basin Natura 2000 Site. The program says that the vegetation will be erased along the Chereş stream and the riverbed will be excavated over a length of 1500 m (upstream of the confluence with the Olt river), and the Mare stream over the length of 500 m (upstream of the confluence with the Olt river). The notification states that the work is urgent, because the river beds are filled with sediments, fact worsened by the beavers, and this leaded to the inundation of more than tens of hectares agricultural lands. In this notification the WMSH invited us to a field inspection.

The Council of Sânsimion requests the solving of the beaver problem on Chereş and Fişag streams, because on these two streams are lots of dams, threatening about 150 hectares of farmland by floods, so the owners cannot access the subventions given by the APIA if the lands are not cultivated.

The dimension of the lands flooded by the Chereş and Mare streams (tens of hectares) and the dimensions of territories threatened by floods because of the Chereş and Fişag streams (150 ha) apparently are overestimated, in reality it is just a few hectares.

The Custody of Lower Ciuc Basin Natura 2000 Site will send a request to WMSH Harghita and to the Council of Sânsimion, which will require depicting on a map the exact dimensions of inundated and endangered territories mentioned above, in order to monitor these territories by the Custodian and to notify the stakeholders too.

The visit on the scene took place in March 12th 2013, and the following persons were present: Miklós Géza (director WMSH HR), Kilyen Árpád, Sándor Erzsébet (WMSH HR), Fábián László (mayor of Sânsimion), Csató Gábor (vice-mayor of Sânsimion), Demeter László (biologist, Misgurnus Association), Sugár Szilárd, Fülöp Tihamér (experts in mammals, Milvus Group Assocoation), Marius Reit (Carpathian Foundation, responsible for beavers management in Romania), Claudiu Paşca (expert, I.C.A.S. Braşov) and Pilbáth G. Attila (ACCENT G. O.).
After the discussion on the scene it was elaborated a minute in which were enumerated all the possible solutions to minimize the impacts of the dredging activities and all protected species and habitats in that zone, of which state will be monitored continuously. This minute will serve as the basis of the request for Custodians approval for these two woks. The Approval will be requested at a later date (if will be necessary). These works will be permanently monitored on the scene to ensure the protection of the Lower Ciuc Basin Natura 2000 Sites natural values. The public will be informed about the events afterwards.

In the future we want to establish contact with each owner who suffers from the inundation caused by the beavers and to find optimal solutions for the owners and for the beavers too. 2011 and 2012 were the driest years for the last 50 years so we have to be responsible with our water supplies and avoid any useless drainage activities in the Lower Ciuc Basin.

Failure to observe legal provisions prohibiting the burning of dry vegetation, APIA (Agency for Payments and Intervention in Agriculture) will suspend the subventions for those who clean their territories by burning vegetation and the Guard of National Environment - Harghita County Commissioner will apply a fine of 3000-6000 lei for physical person and 25000-50000 lei for legal entities. So the Custodian requires the owners to submit more complaints about dry vegetation burning (which unfortunately is the most common practice of cleaning activity for the agricultural lands), besides of losing the subvention given by the APIA, means also a criminal act (even jail) and fine to the perpetrator.

According to GEO no. 195/2005 is prohibited the burning of stubbles, reeds, shrubs and herbaceous vegetation and it is proved to be a contravention the failure of these provisions (the fine is from 3000 lei to 6000 lei for physical persons and a fine of 25 000 lei to 50,000 lei for legal entities). It is also an offense and shall be punished with imprisonment from three months to one year, or criminal fine of 30,000 to 60,000 lei, if the burnings were likely to endanger human, animal or vegetation life or health.

ACCENT GeoEcological Organization        



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