Dam Construction in St. Petersburg Will Have Little Effect on Ecology of Finnish Gulf

The completion of a defensive construction against flooding in St. Petersburg is not expected to have a significant effect on the ecological state of the Neva inlet and the Finnish Gulf. This was announced on Friday in St. Petersburg by German Gerritsen, head of the Dutch company NEDECO, which carried out expert research into the project for the dam's construction.

The State Construction Committee of Russia assigned the task of investigating the technical and economical grounds for the construction of the defensive complex against flooding in St. Petersburg through analysis of ecological effects to the Dutch group NEDECO. Both Russians and foreign experts took part in investigations.

Gerritsen remarked in particular that the construction is not expected to have a significant effect on the general state of river water, sediment on the river bed, or on flora and fauna. Neither will it have any negative effect on fish migration in the Finnish Gulf, or on marshland wildlife near the Neva inlet, or damage people's health.

Among the beneficial effects of the dam, according to the Dutch expert, will be the improvement of conditions for shipping in the Neva inlet. He said that special attention will be given to construction work during the period in spring in which fish enter the Neva inlet to spawn. During the autumn spawning of salmon, construction work will have to be stopped. Gerritsen underlined that the positive effect of the dam's construction (the prevention of potential serious economic and ecological damage caused by flooding, which is estimated by experts to cost USD 69 million per year) outweighs the insignificant negative effects on the ecological state of the Neva inlet and the Finnish Gulf.

Lyudmila Tsvetkova, representing the opinion of many Russian experts, is entirely in agreement with her Dutch colleagues. The last meeting for the conference for the dam's construction was organised by the State Construction Committee in accordance with demands from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The bank will provide credit for the completion of the current project to the sum of USD 215 million. The first such meeting took place on January 31 2002.