Nenets environmental database as a tool for management and protection of environment in the region Печать E-mail

SUE NAO "Nents Information-Analytical Centre"

The modem stage of the society development is characterized by increased role of the information sphere, which consists of information;, information infrastructure; subjects that collect, form, distribute and use information; as well as systems regulating public relations.

Project history. The Russian-Norwegian project "Nenets Environmental Database1' (hereafter "NED") was initiated by the State Committee on Environmental Protection of The Nenets Autonomous okrug, Russia (hereafter "Goskomekologia NAO") and Akvaplan-niva, Norway in 1996. and in 1999 the feasibility study was completed. The results of the feasibility study were presented on the International conference "Health. Safety, and the Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production" in June 2000 in Stavanger, Norway (report SPE 61235, HSE-2000). hi February 2000 the sides prepared the project proposal for implementation of the second (the main) project stage, the application was presented to The Norwegian Barents Secretariat and other institutes.

In the years 2001 and 2002 Akvaplan-niva held meetings and discussions with Norwegian Barents Secretariat- Administration of Nenets Autonomous okrug (hereafter 4t NAO"X Committee of Nature Resources of NAO. Nenets Information-Analytical Centre where the prospects for NED further development were discussed. In October 2002 Administration of NAO confirmed the principal interest in NED project continuation, defined Nenets Information-Analytical Centre as an owner of NED and main project partner, and established the project working group from NAO side formed from the representatives of the Administration of NAO and Nenets Information-Analytical Centre. Akvaplan-niva has been the project responsible from the Norwegian side, hi 2003-2004 the first phase of the main project stage was realized and the report was presented to The Barents Secretariat (Akvaplan-niva report No. 729.1674.2).

The project goal The main goal of NED realization is to create the tool to be used by Administration of NAO, environmental authorities of the okrug, as well as scientific institutes and industrial enterprises in their work. NED, therefore, should contribute to improvement of the environmental management system in the okrug, and optimization of the decision making process.

The Project Implementation. Nenets Information-Analytical Centre (hereafter vtNIAC") is the project responsible from The Russian side. NIAC was founded in 2002 with the goal to give information-analytical support to NAO authorities, first of all, in the field of nature resources use. The basic work for the centre is gathering, systematization, processing and analyses of the information within two main directions - geology and ecology. NIAC also, with the support of Administration of NAO, arrange and carry out yearly scientific expeditions to different areas of the okrug for definition of the current environmental conditions and the level of anthropogenic impact.

Akvaplan-niva is the project responsible from the Norwegian side. Akvaplan-niva is a leading consultant and research company in the fields of aquaculture, marine and freshwater biology. Company carries out activities in marine and fresh water environmental monitoring, environmental impact assessment, coastal zone planning, sensitivity analyses, GIS and database design, Arctic and offshore environment research. Akvaplan-niva has been cooperating with the environmental organizations of the Nenets Autonomous okrug since 1994.

Project implementation. In 2003-2004 metadata base (hereafter "MDB") was created, and the general structure of the environmental database and cartographic supply for NED established.

Metadata base. The main reason for creation MBD within NED was the lack of systemized information about environmental conditions and studies of NAO territory. Every year several expeditions, field research, and other investigation activities are held in the, but data and the information is not summarized neither systemized. The absence of scientific institutes specialized on environmental issues created the situation that environmental data and information were stored in different places, but not in the okrug. Obviously it complicated the decision making process during forming and implementing the ecological program of the okrug; and during work of environmental authorities, research and education institutes and industrial enterprises. Therefore there was taken a logic decision to create MDB for NED.

MDB should consist of data about data. MDB will include information about works carried out and their results that are possessed by the scientific and research institutes, industrial companies and other organizations dealing with environmental studies in the okrug.

The task for MDB creation is rather complicated due to information of various types to be included, various as in content, as in form of presentation. At first NIAC developed the questionnaire that from one side should be easy to fill in by the respondents, and from another should create an information basis for MDB structure development.

It was decided to realize MDB on the basis of GIS-technologies, since for MDB the important factors were not only the organization - possessor of information, type of work or data volumes, but also area where research were earned out or certain data gathered. Use of GIS-technologies allows us to combine in one system work and data description, and their spatial binding. In such way we can form thematic layers on the digital map of okrug according to filled in questionnaires. And we can get not only data list and description, but also their spatial distribution and borders.
Sine the main spatial objects to be presented on the map are points, lines and polygons it was necessarily to develop the method for transforming information from the questionnaire into objects of the cartographic layers. The following matrix of conformity was elaborated.

GIS - ArcGIS 8.3 and DBMS - SQL Server 2000 were chosen as software planform for MDB implementation.

When we elaborate such a tool as MDB we can use it with and without inclusion into NED. The following fact should also me mentioned: MDB can be an important link between organizations that deliver information and services, and organizations that receive those products. An example could be that industrial company, user of nature resources, arranges environmental monitoring of its objects. Certain environmental data before the production start are needed as a baseline for setting the monitoring program. The first questions are "whether data are available for the area?", "what kind of data?" and "who can provide them?" Here MDB, which is built using GIS-technologies, can be used and give the list of organizations possessing information, data volumes and types of work earned out for the certain area.

NED structure elaboration and primary data filling. It is obvious that NED goals are not limited with accumulation of metadata. In 2003 Ecological Fund of NAO supported the works on NED structure development and filling primary data for the following sections: landscapes, climate, hydrology, soil cover, biological diversity of water ecosystem, nature protected territories, environmental status.

Scientific publications and reports of the enterprises with the results of their works carried out on okrug's finances, which were presented to Administration of NAO and Ecological Fund of NAO, were the sources of the information for filling in NED sections. In addition NIAC included in NED data gathered during the center's activities.

Cartographic information. Giving the example of metadata we have shown the need in cartographic data provision for carrying out works and making decisions. Such need has also been confirmed in implementation of the NED project in total, where elaboration of the digital maps of different directions is an essential part. Thematic maps, from small scale for the whole NAO territory to big scale for concrete objects of research, should be created within the project.

Ned project development. NED project can not be stopped on the present stage, project initiators and participants see the necessity of its development. We can speak about enlarging the project network and including more participants in the project among scientific and industrial institutes, we can also identify directions and primary tasks for further NED development.

At present the following directions of NED development are defined:

1. MDB as self-dependent section of NED. Continuation of metadata gathering is an important factor for NED development. At the same time MDB will not be limited with environmental information only but will be enlarged with information on nature resources including, first of all, geology.

2. Satellite Remote Sensing technologies for NED. Meta-data collected within NED shown certain gaps in overall information describing environmental conditions of NAO territory and the Pechora Sea. Satellite Remote Sensing (hereafter "SRS") technologies combined with field research give good possibilities for making overall thematic maps and carrying out environmental monitoring on certain criteria.

3. NED for Kolguev Island. Kolguev is the large remote island of NAO with unique nature, indigenous people and petroleum industry presented, therefore NED for Kolguev should be created in cooperation with NAO and local authorities, indigenous people, nature protection institutions and petroleum industry. Kolguev can be good example for making pilot environmental database - NED for Kolguev, as a management tool. That section will be developed in accordance with GEF ECORA-Kolguev project that has been started in 2004, and earlier initiatives of Administration of NAO on creating special economic zone, and NAO environmental authorities on establishing ethno-ecological area on Kolguev.

4. NED for Eastern Coastal Area. Eastern coastal part of NAO and eastern part of the Pechora Sea are the most perspective areas for the oil exploration and transport onshore and offshore in the nearest future, where Varandey terminal and Prirazlomnoe oil deposit will have the main focus. At the same time unique marsh systems (RAMSAR) and walrus rookeries can be found there, as well as series of islands of Nenetsky State Nature Reserve situated nearby. According to environmental forecasts and assessments coastal marshes may be the first ones impacted in case of oil pollution. NED for coastal area should be established for proper environmental management, monitoring and oil pollution prevention plans.

5. Web-portal for MDB and NED users. The plan is to make on NIAC-servers Web-portal for MDB and NED using up-to-date technologies for publication digital maps in Internet. Elaborating that direction we can create virtual platform where thematic and meta-information can be presented, as well as projects, proposals, initiatives and plans of NAO authorities, organizations and companies as well as other organizations planning, carrying out or interested in doing environmental activities on NAO territory, and those companies who are interested in environmental data and research results. Web-portal for NED can be good solution as for distribution of environmental information as for marketing the projects and services.



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