Entry #13: Liede river cleaning activity

Organisation: Organisation “Dēms”

Website: www.facebook.com/kuszaleaug

Dates: 28 June 2017

Place: Liede river, Jaungulbene parish, Gulbene district, Latvia

Description of the activity:

Liede river cleaning activity took place in a small village Jaungulbene, Gulbene district, Vidzeme region, Latvia. From 27-29th of June, 2017, 25 people (20 youngsters, environment experts and enthusiasts) gathered to learn about biological diversity and ecosystems of small rivers in frames of project “Kuš! Zāle aug!” /be quiet, the grass is growing!/, funded by Latvian Environmental Protection Fund and coordinated by NGO “Dēms”.

During the training participants involved in one voluntary deed, in this case – cleaning of the Liede river. We took off the tree dams, collected plastic and other trash, together with hydro-biologist Andris Urtāns learned to assess the extent of water quality. Before the cleaning activity youngsters had a theoretical overview about small river ecosystems and pollution problems.

What was the environmental problem:

Small rivers are more than a separate water unity – it is a kind of blood circulation that defines the quality of big rivers, drinking water and the sea, finally. Historically the Liede has been a clean trout river but due to dams, anthropogenic influence, beaver population, overgrowing of forests has lost its natural flow.

Each fell tree and each dam slows down the flow of river, creating stagnant water sections that lead to the loss of oxygen in the water. By clearing the river from fallen trees, the speed of the stream increases and in the spring when the ice melts down the river is able to do the self-cleaning process. Therefore, the maintenance of the river every year is becoming easier.

Very significant is participation of youngsters in this environmental action. Awareness of environmental problems and own responsibility are the key moments that strengthens sustainment and protection of the surrounding environment.

The result of the activity:

The first and the most remarkable result is awareness of participants regarding the environmental problem – youngsters gained practical skills, experience and knowledge about small river ecosystems, why do we need to clean them, how to measure the level of water pollution, why it is necessary to leave some trees in the flow, what kind of species are living in small rivers and its banks and a lot more.

During the activity we released a 500 meters long Liede river section form fallen trees, dams and trash and made a forest walking rout. One historical moment – by cleaning the banks of river we found a hoarstone datable back to 19th Century.

Our regional TV made a story about the process, so we could share the problem and encourage other people in Latvia to take care about rivers in their surroundings. So far one follow up activity has been arranged in Lejasciems parish, Gulbene district. During the activity a group of local youngsters gathered for a bout trip – the Gauja river cleaning activity. And one more thing - for the first time young participants saw a river cancer, marked in a Red Book as protected species!


Videos about the project:

Environmental challenge accepted - Public vote

Main page of the project