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Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

 Федеральный исследовательский центр «Красноярский научный центр Сибирского отделения Российской академии наук»

Federal Research Center 
"Krasnoyarsk Science Center of the Siberian
Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences"

A grant from the En + Group competition for environmental projects will help scientists of KSC SB RAS to identify the blooming zones of the Yenisei within Krasnoyarsk

7 June 2021 г.

Грант конкурса экологических проектов En+ Group поможет ученым КНЦ СО РАН выявить зоны цветения Енисея в черте Красноярска
At the end of May, En + Group announced the results of the competition for environmental projects. A team of scientists from the Federal Research Center "KSC SB RAS" became the winner of the competition in the category "Science and Practice" with the project "Identification of blooming zones of the Yenisei River in the city of Krasnoyarsk." The project supervisor, Candidate of Biological Sciences, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Computational Modeling of SB RAS Anna Andrianova told about the plans of Krasnoyarsk scientists.

Why is water blooming dangerous? Why and where does it occur, and how acute is this problem in our region?
Currently, most water bodies in the world are affected to some extent by humans. This leads to a deterioration in water quality and often to irreversible degradation. One of the typical environmental problems is eutrophication and massive overgrowth of water bodies both with higher aquatic plants and microalgae. The term “water blooming” is traditionally understood as the large development of microalgae which cause turbidity and discoloration of water. Depending on the type of algae, the water can turn green, yellow-brown, sometimes even red. In addition, the intensive development of cyanobacteria is extremely dangerous not only for the inhabitants of the water reservoir, but also for humans. Some types of cyanobacteria release toxins which cause severe allergic reactions in humans. The overgrowth of water bodies reduces their area, affects the temperature and chemical composition of water, and reduces the water transparency. Dying plants leave behind a huge amount of organic rotting mass. A direct consequence of these processes is the loss of the recreational and fishery value of water bodies.

Such blooming is often observed in fresh, low-flowing water bodies. However, at present the problem is relevant for rivers as well. The Yenisei, the main waterway of Siberia, is also prone to overgrowth. Especially in the area of non-freezing open water downstream the Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric power station. The most intensive blooming of the Yenisei is observed within the boundaries of Krasnoyarsk, where the channel has numerous islands, channels and creeks. A decrease in water flow and the multifaceted anthropogenic load due to industrial life create favorable conditions for the deterioration of the water quality in the river.

What are you planning to do?

We are planning to create a map of the blooming zones of the Yenisei River within Krasnoyarsk, combining data from multispectral aerial photography from unmanned aerial vehicles and ground hydrobiological monitoring. We will investigate unicellular microalgae and bottom dwellers in places of their intensive development, as well as at the control station in the “clean water” of the main channel. Information on the species inhabiting the river and their number will be used to assess the water quality using bioindication methods recommended for rivers.

Why have you decided to declare this work? Were there any developments or an urgent problem showed up within the frame of the competition?

The problems of blooming and overgrowing water bodies are being studied by scientists from all over the world, and they are especially relevant due to growing water shortages. As for our main waterway, the Yenisei River, these problems are no less relevant, being of great concern not only for the scientific community, but also for the regional authorities and public. A number of measures have already been taken to eliminate the blooming of the Yenisei in the city. In particular, scientific research was carried out and technical recommendations were developed for cleaning the Abakan channel, located in the center of Krasnoyarsk, which is a favorite place for the residents. However, at present the scale of the problem has not been studied, the area of the  river overgrowing and the length of the disturbed areas have not been determined. Without this information, the effective implementation of measures to restore the river is not possible.

Our team has experience in conducting such research. The project team also includes specialists with extensive experience in assessing the quality of water and the state of aquatic biological resources of various reservoirs of the Krasnoyarsk Region. There are also developments in the field of processing and presentation of geospatial information, Earth remote sensing data, methods of geoinformation analysis and mathematical modeling. Drone flights and multispectral aerial photography will be performed by postgraduate students of the Federal Research Center of KSC SB RAS, who have the qualification of an operator of ground control facilities for an unmanned aerial vehicle, obtained at a specialized Flight Personnel Training Center.

What methods will be used in the work?

We are planning to carry out a series of surveys of the water surface of the Yenisei from an unmanned aerial vehicle equipped with a multispectral camera, to process the obtained images, calculate spectral indices and to create on their basis a series of digital maps for analyzing the characteristics of the water bodies under study. Ground-based hydrobiological monitoring will allow us to calibrate digital maps.

Can these developments and approaches be used on other objects?

We regard this project as the first stage in a series of interdisciplinary studies devoted to the investigation of the Yenisei blooming busing remote sensing methods in combination with ground-based hydrobiological monitoring. The approaches used in the project work are extremely relevant and successfully applied in such monitoring studies. With the help of Earth remote sensing (ERS) data and software systems for their processing, it is possible to solve a number of problems such as: inventory of water bodies; monitoring of the condition of hydraulic structures; monitoring of the ecological state of water bodies, including the identification of areas contaminated as a result of emergency discharges and spills of pollutants, identification of pollution sources; monitoring of channel processes; forecasting and operational monitoring of floods and much more.

The results obtained in the course of work on the project, together with the existing developments of the research team, will form in the future an information basis for making environmental and urban planning decisions aimed at increasing the efficiency of using the recreational potential of Krasnoyarsk.

As a result, the research team will provide information on the blooming and pollution zones of the Yenisei which can become a catalyst for the activity of public and non-profit organizations in order to start work on cleaning the river bed from algae and creating new places for public beaches in the city.