Biodiversity conservation

Impact on biodiversity

While none of RusHydro’s power generation facilities is located within specially protected natural areas, RAO ES East’s grid infrastructure does extend to such places, sharing them with rare plant and animal species. [304-1]

As the Group seeks to minimize its impact on biodiversity and protected natural areas, none of its activities cause reduction of species, habitat conversion, or introduction of invasive species, pests or pathogens. [304-2]

Protected species’ habitats affected by activities of RusHydro Group [304-4]

The habitat of the mandarin duck (Aix galericulata) in the Amur Region is impounded by the Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP. As a rare species, the bird is on the Russian Red List and the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals, and mentioned in Appendix 2 to the Bonn Convention and migratory bird protecting appendices to bilateral agreements between Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the DPRK.

Water bodies affected by wastewater discharges of RAO ES East Subgroup: affiliation, volume and biodiversity [306-5]
RAO ES East Subgroup Subsidiary Water body No water body is a protected natural reserve. Volume or average discharge, mn m3 Biodiversity value
JSC DGK Kivdinskoye reservoir 9.6 High
Kontrovod River Supreme
Promezhutochnaya Bay Supreme
Obyasneniye River High
Lozovy Klyuch Stream High
Partizanskaya River High
Olongoro River reservoir 43.2 High
Semyonovskiy Stream Medium
Amnunakta River High
Amurskaya Anabranch Supreme
Amur River Supreme
Lake Khorpy Supreme
Galbon Anabranch (Old Amur) Supreme
Zapadnaya Bay Supreme
Nante Stream Supreme
Pravaya Beryozovaya River Medium
Chernaya River Medium
Polezhaevka Stream Medium
Gnilaya Pad Stream Medium
Malaya Sita River High
Rudka Stream Medium
Bezymyanny Stream Medium
PJSC Kamchatskenergo Avacha Bay 3,800 Supreme
Khalaktyrka River Supreme
Lake Halaktyrskoye 11 Supreme
Lake Sypuchka Supreme
JSC UESK Bystraya River 43.2 High
PJSC Magadanenergo Magadanka River 127.5 Supreme
Kamenushka River 37.9 High
Myaunja River 37.9 Supreme
PJSC Sakhalinenergo Gulf of Patience (Sea of Okhotsk) 211,250 Supreme
PJSC Yakutskenergo Lena River 515,610 Supreme
Vilyuy River 21,290 Supreme
JSC Chukotenergo Kazachka River 22 Medium
Lake Okhotnichye 0.25 Medium
Chaun Bay High
JSC Teploenergoservis Vilyuy River 72,400 Supreme
Yana River 29,297 Supreme
Aldan River 154,683 Supreme
Indigirka River 14,002 Supreme
Allakh-Yun River 5,550 Supreme
Nera River 3,658 Supreme
JSC LCM Kontrovod River Supreme

The impoundment area of the dam also covers a primary habitat of Aleuritopteris kuhnii, a rare fern listed in Russia as a threatened plant species.

The process of impounding Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP reservoir also affected the habitats of local ungulates.

Another rare species affected by the construction of Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP and activities of JSC DRSK is the Far Eastern stork (Ciconia boyciana). The Far Eastern stork is on the Russian Red List and the 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals, and mentioned in Appendix 1 to the CITES and migratory bird protecting appendices to bilateral agreements between Russia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and the DPRK. In 2018, JSC DRSK proposed an initiative to install supports for stork nests.

Biodiversity conservation

RusHydro Group focuses its biodiversity conservation efforts on five major areas.

RusHydro supports international initiatives in environment protection and biodiversity conservation. As part of Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation into Russia’s Energy Sector Policies and Operations, a UNDP-GEF project run by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation (“the Project”), RusHydro took a number of biodiversity conservation measures in 2012–2017. In particular, borders of protected natural areas were changed to move them away from the impoundment area of Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP and lift restrictions on the dam construction.(EU13)

Potential environmental impact of suitable dam sites in the Amur Region was assessed to proactively evaluate risks of local hydropower projects and plan biodiversity conservation measures. As part of the project “Bureysky Compromise”, a nature park was established to protect local ungulates and move threatened plants from the impoundment area. These activities were financed with the funds of the UNDP Project and, in fact, are compensatory measures provided for by the Nizhne-Bureyskaya HPP construction project. In 2018, two forest guard lodges were built in the Bureysky Nature Park. a plan was developed to minimize the impact on animals during the construction of Nizhne-Zeyskaya HPP.

RusHydro Group’s biodiversity conservation activities

The Biodiversity Conservation Projects section was added to the corporate website through joint efforts of the Project’s stakeholders.

In 2018, effectiveness of RusHydro’s biodiversity conservation initiatives was confirmed by Stewart Williams, an independent UNDP expert, during the final audit of the Project.

Starting from 2016, biodiversity conservation costs have been reported as a separate item and subject to disclosure by the Company.

RusHydro Group’s Environmental Policy (approved by the Board of Directors on August 9, 2018) provides for biodiversity conservation as the Company’s primary goal and sets a zero plant and animal extinction target for 2025.

At present, RusHydro is developing a three-year action plan for biodiversity conservation. It will incorporate approaches of the Project and provide for their roll-out at other facilities of RusHydro. In 2018, a working group was formed at RusHydro for this purpose to include biodiversity conservation experts from the Company and academic community. Fish stocking initiatives

With most of the Company’s activities centered on rivers, much attention is paid to the restoration of fish populations through voluntary annual stocking initiatives at water reservoirs and rivers since 2003.

In April 2018, RusHydro’s branch Cascade of Kubanskiye HPPs released 165,000 juvenile silver carp into the Yegorlyk Reservoir. the event was staged on the left bank of the reservoir and supported by the Azov and Black Sea Department of the Federal Fishery Agency.

In July, Votkinskaya HPP released over 600 juvenile sterlet, an especially valuable fish species on the Russian Red List, into the Votkinsk Reservoir. In August 2018, Ust-Srednekanskaya HPP and the Okhotsk Department of the Federal Fishery Agency released 300,000 juvenile peled, a commercially valuable fish species, into the Elikchan Lakes of the Kolyma. RusHydro’s Kabardino-Balkaria branch and the West Caspian Department of the Federal Fishery Agency released 74,000 juvenile brown trout, a fish species on the Red List, into the Baksan and its tributaries. Bureyskaya HPP supported a fish stoking initiative on the Amur’s largest tributary Zeya in the Amur Region. As part of RusHydro’s Clean Energy Program, 3,600 less-than-year-old Amur sturgeon, a very rare and especially valuable fish species, were released into the river near the village of Krasnoyarovo. the initiative was aimed at maintaining the fish population upstream and midstream of the Amur.

Additionally, Boguchanskaya HPP monitored and assessed the impact of its water reservoir on the environment and water life in 2018.

RAN IEE and RusHydro’s Persian leopard reintroduction program in Ossetia

The North Ossetia branch of RusHydro supports the Persian leopard reintroduction program initiated by the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution (RAN IEE) in the Caucasus region. the joint RAN IEE and RusHydro program for the Persian leopard reintroduction in Ossetia provides for comprehensive measures in research, environment protection and awareness building to make the region and communities ready for Persian leopards to be released under the international program run by the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of the Russian Federation.

In 2015, zoologists were totally surprised to see a Persian leopard for the first time in 60 (!) years. It was captured on a CCTV camera near Gizeldonskaya HPP although the species was thought to have been extinct in Russia since the 1950s. an unprecedented reintroduction program was launched in the Caucasus region in 2007. As part of it, a breeding center was established in the Sochi National Park to house purebred Persian leopards brought from all over the world. Their offsprings are prepared to be released into the wild and repopulate the Caucasus. the animal captured on camera near the HPP in Ossetia shows that the unprecedented reintroduction program is a success.

The joint program of RusHydro and RAN IEE was designed to create necessary conditions for the rare predators to repopulate the region. Entitled Reintroduction of Leopards in Ossetia, the program studied the possibility of releasing leopards into the wild, comprised area preparation measures and provided for awareness initiatives aimed at picturing the leopard as a national heritage and forming a responsible attitude to the environment among local communities.

In July 2018, two non-relative species of the Persian leopard – Elbrus (male) and Volna (female) – were released in the Alania National Park with support from RusHydro. They were raised in the Sochi Breeding Center, which is now home to several purebred leopards brought from different countries to become parents of the reviving population. Their offsprings are trained to live in the wild without human assistance. They learn to avoid humans, settlements and domestic animals and hunt prey independently.

Elbrus and Volna, who completed a similar training course, spent two years in the Sochi Breeding Center after birth preparing for their life in the wild. In the meantime, a team of zoologists, hydropower engineers and volunteers analyzed natural ecosystems in North Ossetia to select the best site for leopards to be released.

As a result, the Alania National Park was selected for the first release. the national park was fitted with photo and video cameras, and the leopards were carrying GPS tracking collars to make it possible for researchers to monitor the animals in their habitats.

The joint program of RusHydro and Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution for the reintroduction of Persian leopards in North Ossetia received the Vernadsky National Environmental Award as the Best Social and Environmental Initiative in 2018.

Rehabilitation of disturbed areas

Habitats preserved and rehabilitated by RAO ES East Subgroup [304-3]
Name JSC DGK PJSC Magadanenergo PJSC Sakhalinenergo JSC Chukotenergo JSC LCM Total
January 1, 2018
Total disturbed area, ha 2,300.52 272.00 255.02 174.14 4,027.19 7,028.87
Total post-construction area, ha 59.00 51.00 3.22 0.50 24.39 138.11
Topsoil stockpiled, ‘000 m3 275.61 0 0 0 578.78 854.39
Total in 2018
Total disturbed area, ha 15.00 0 0.1 0.51 83.60 99.21
Total post-construction area, ha 0 0 0.1 0 0 0.10
Total rehabilitated area, ha 0 0 0.1 0 0 0.10
December 31, 2018
Total disturbed area, ha 2,315.52 272.00 255.02 174.66 4,110.79 7,127.99
Total post-construction area, ha 59.00 51.00 3.22 0.50 24.39 138.11
Topsoil stockpiled, ‘000 m3 275.61 0 0 0 578.78 854.39