Why did the situation around the Brateevskaya floodplain turn into a scandal that spread beyond Moscow? First, a few facts. The Brateevskaya floodplain of the Moskva River is a unique biological complex, which contains an unprecedented number of species of animals, birds and plants included in the "Red Book". In the floodplain, six species of mammals, 32 species of birds, 17 species of insects are registered, included in the "Red Book" of Moscow. In Brateevskaya floodplain there are 9 species of plants from the "Red Book". In terms of the diversity of biological species, only some areas of the Losiny Ostrov National Park can be compared to the Brateevskaya floodplain.
But most likely, we will soon talk about all this in the past tense. Rare bird species leave Moscow. A sad sign...
The largest gull colony in the city has already disappeared in Moscow. Construction is in full swing near the Brateevskaya Poima nature reserve. The swampy area, where rare species of birds and animals lived, is covered up in order to build an electric depot there and to build storage facilities near the Yuzhnye Vorota shopping center.
" In the area of the Brateevskaya floodplain developers buried nests of birds right with eggs of chicks under the foundation of the electric depot. The noise that arose in social networks, letters to the Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection of Moscow, addresses of scientists to the mayor - all this remained unanswered. The floodplain itself, where the "Red Book" species of animals, birds and plants lived, is shrinking like shagreen skin. The piece of land left under it looks like a mockery", - says Ksenia Avilova, a leading researcher at the Faculty of Biology of Moscow State University, Ph.D.
The colony of aggressive, noisy gulls, as it turned out, is something like a protective barrier for the fauna of the nature reserve. They create conditions for safe nesting of other species, among which are very rare. “ I live in Kapotnya. Seagulls and their cry have always been something ordinary for me, and at one time I was very surprised when I learned that the black-headed gull is included in the "Red Book" of Moscow. The fact is that these birds live in colonies, they rarely nest individually: it is easier to jointly protect the clutches of eggs and offspring. Within Moscow (even within the new borders) there are only about ten black-headed gull colonies. Among them Brateevskaya is the largest, there are more than 1000 pairs in it. Together with the seagulls from the Brateevskaya floodplain, in the event of its destruction and development, other rare species of birds are likely to leave, ”says an eco-activist, member of the Russian Bird Conservation Union Kirill Ivanovsky.
The other day he conducted an inspection in the Brateevskaya floodplain. More precisely, in what is left of it. The picture described by the ecologist is sad: “Half of the swamp is covered with mountains of sand. We did not meet any ducks, except for a mallard. But there was a very unusual find - a great egret. These birds were completely exterminated in most of the European range in the late 19th - early 20th century due to the fashion for hats decorated with feathers. In Europe and European Russia, their colonies have survived only in some places. In addition to the white one, 9 gray herons, which are completely atypical for the city, were also seen on a large open stretch near the access roads of the Brateevo depot”, - says eco-activist Kirill Ivanovsky.
All these herons are likely to leave the Brateevskaya floodplain soon. What is happening there now will hardly leave room for the unique flora and fauna. Development came to Brateevskaya Poima, thoughtless and merciless. At the same time, Moscow officials, in their responses to official inquiries from ecologists and social activists, assure that there is no construction site in the Brateevskaya Poima area.
In general, everything that has happened to the Brateevskaya floodplain in recent years is predictable and scary.
The project of the faunal reserve in the Brateyevskaya floodplain was developed back in 2010 and successfully passed the state and environmental expertise. According to this project, the swampy part of the reserve, where rare species of birds and animals settled between the Brateevo depot and the Besedinskoye highway, were to be completely included in the nature reserve. “There were excursions to these places, environmental circles of schoolchildren were held here, it was possible to conduct biology lessons, do scientific research. All this was to become part of a specially protected reserve. In terms of the diversity of rare species, this is the most valuable part of the Brateyevskaya floodplain”, - says Ksenia Avilova, a leading researcher at the Faculty of Biology of Moscow State University, Ph.D.
But the reserve has not been created for many years. During this time, no one followed the territory with unique "Red Book" species of animals and plants. Garbage was illegally brought here and dumped. And then the swamp was completely filled up. Together with the birds and small animals that lived there.
Commercial structures, with the consent of the mayor's office, implemented three projects on the floodplain, which led to the degradation and destruction of the habitats of protected species of animals and birds, as well as to the reduction of the area of the natural complex as a whole.
Back in 2014, the owners of the Yuzhnye Vorota Shopping Center (owner - MTK-Dialex-1 LLC) seized a part of the protected area that was adjacent to their shopping mall. There they built strange yellow structures - three huge warehouses. At the same time, the construction took place not only on the lands of the planned reserve, but also on the territory of the natural monument near the Gorodnya river (the riverbed was filled up and a new one was dug, the Gorodnya tributary Shmelevka was removed into a pipe at the mouth). In response to a request from environmentalists in 2018, the district government of the Brateevo district replied that it "has no information about the buildings." Later they replied that "the survey of the above water body [ Gorodniy river - editor's note ] has been carried out , as a result no work has been identified".
Also, our editorial office has a response from OATI to a resident of Moscow Natalya Cherevko that "the facts of organizing the construction site have not been revealed". However, work went on. The secret of their implementation is simple: the work was carried out without a positive decision of the state ecological expertise, which is mandatory for projects in specially protected natural areas.
Meanwhile, the natural monument "Floodplain of the Gorodnya River from Brateevskaya Street to the Moscow River" is mentioned in the Decree of the Moscow Government No. 383-PP dated 06/08/2004 "On Natural Monuments in the City of Moscow", Moscow City Law No. 37 dated 06.07.2005 "On the scheme for the development and placement of specially protected natural areas in the city of Moscow "and indicated on the diagram attached to this law. Where did the officials suddenly get such forgetfulness? It's simple: in fact, no decision of the district commission on construction was made public, but at the end of December 2018, a response came from the State Inspectorate for Real Estate, which said: from December 1 0, 2018 from MTK-Dialeks-1 LLC a contract was signed for the placement of a "loading and unloading cluster" on an area of about 19 hectares. And this is all or almost all within the boundaries of the planned faunistic reserve "Brateevskaya Poima". And partly - on the territory of the existing natural monument near Gorodnya. The first warehouse appeared between 2012 and 2014, the second (for the sake of which the old Gorodnya channel was buried on the territory of the natural monument) was built in 2017, and the preparation of the site for the construction of the latter began in the spring of 2018. For all this, the Moscow Department of Natural Resources, headed by Mr. Mr. Kulbachevsky shyly closed his eyes and denied the obvious.
“The opinions of citizens were completely ignored. In general, the citizens of the Russian Federation today do not have any rights regarding the cancellation of urban planning projects and development. In the case of the Brateevskaya floodplain, we conducted a public inspection from Rosprirodnadzor. Building on specially protected areas is prohibited by law. Before erecting any structures nearby, they must undergo an EIA - an environmental impact assessment. In the case of the Brateyevskaya floodplain, none of this happened”, - said the inspector of Rosprirodnadzor, lawyer Dmitry Legoshin.
Construction of warehouses for the South Gate shopping center on the territory of the Brateevskaya floodplain is not all. The Moscow Metro decided to build the Yuzhnoye depot there. The project for its placement on the territory of the Brateevskaya floodplain appeared back in 2014. They motivated this by the fact that a new depot was needed for the "green line" of the metro, the capacity of the old, they say, is not enough. In this regard, a project appeared, where the new depot should be located close to the existing one. Some of the materials of the floodplain planning project can be viewed here: the planning project was not the only one, but for some reason the choice was made on it. Accommodation options from page 30. The experts' conclusion openly states: the construction of this depot "will lead to the death of flora and fauna protection facilities." But according to the conclusion of the metro, it is a priority.
“If they built a separate depot north of Gorodnya, east of the Brateevskaya building, they would“ eat up ”part of the floodplain meadows. The area occupied by meadows in the floodplain is much larger. If metro builders chose this path, it would hardly have disastrous consequences for weasels, partridges, corncrakes, meadow chicks and other animals that live there. And new construction in the swamp will lead to the fact that the embankment of the depot will almost close with the embankment of "Ashan" on the opposite side. Two small open areas will remain from the swamp, plus a flooded forest just to the south. It is clear that so many gulls will no longer be able to nest in the reduced area. There will be fewer quiet secluded places for animals and birds. This means that they will stop multiplying. Many rare species are likely to leave this place", - says environmental activist Kirill Ivanovskiy. "When we were there last time, most of the area allocated for the construction of the depot was already covered with sand. Several workers erected a fence made of profiled sheet around the embankment”, - adds the ecologist.
But this was not the last blow to the Brateevskaya floodplain. In 2017-18, the mayor's office included the coastal part of the floodplain in the state program "Development of the urban environment for 2012-2018" and announced a tender for "comprehensive improvement and greening", although this is a violation of the Law of the city of Moscow No. 48 (work on land intended for the formation of protected areas). We have equipped a sports and entertainment park with a baseball stadium, sports and playgrounds, a cafe and a summer cinema. In addition to new roads, car parks appeared in the floodplain, their area is about 2 hectares. In place of a small swamp with dense vegetation, an artificial pond was arranged, the bottom and banks of which are bare, lined with rubble. “When these works were carried out in 2018, I complained to the prosecutor’s office. The appeals were ultimately redirected to the Department of Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection, as well as to the Prefecture of South Administrative District. However, arguments about the prohibition of design in the planned Specially Protected Natural Areas, the threat to rare species - all of this was simply ignored. Some kind of senseless formal reply came from the Moscow environmental department", - says Kirill Ivanovsky, a member of the Russian Bird Conservation Union .
The ending of this story looks especially mocking. On February 6, 2019, a resolution was finally issued "On the formation of a specially protected natural area of regional significance" Faunistic reserve Brateevskaya Poima".
Compared to the original project in 2010, the area of the reserve has been significantly reduced. A 12-hectare bog site to the west of the Brateevo depot (which must be protected in the first place) did not fall within the boundaries of the SPNA - they are going to build the Yuzhnoye depot on it. The territory occupied by illegally built warehouses was also cut out of the territory of the nature reserve.
Kirill Ivanovsky , a member of the Union for the Conservation of Birds of Russia, told the editorial board that in another volume with the materials of the floodplain planning project for the depot in 2014, proposals are made to adjust the boundaries of the nature reserve. Among the conclusions is the following: "As compensation for the loss of biological diversity, it is advisable to provide for the identification and creation of territories with favorable conditions for resettlement and further habitation of species of the wetland ornithological complex in Moscow and in the near Moscow region".
Where and how officials are going to "compensate" for this biological diversity is not clear. Obviously, the "experts" who wrote these lines believe that rare species of birds will nest near cafes and restaurants, near parking lots, near the Yuzhnoye depot, and white herons will start near the Yuzhnye Vorota shopping center. Or, as in the Disney cartoon, they will go in search of a better life on their own, away from the Moscow mayor's office and its subordinate Mospriroda.
The people who make such plans seem to be very far from environmental legislation. By the way, this legislation was violated even before the Decree on the establishment of PAs of regional significance “Faunistic reserve Brateevskaya Poima”. According to Russian environmental legislation, in addition to legal norms related to the status of protected areas, rare species are subject to conservation on their own. This is enshrined in the Federal Law No. 7 "On Environmental Protection" dated 10.01.2002, Art. 60 (activities leading to a reduction in the number of plants, animals and other organisms listed in the Red Data Books, and worsening their habitat are prohibited), in the Federal Law No. 52-ФЗ "On the Animal Kingdom", which says, in particular, in its Art. 24: "Actions that can lead to the death, reduction in the number or disruption of the habitat of objects of the animal world listed in the Red Data Books are not allowed." This also contradicts the Regulation on the "Red Book" of the city of Moscow, clause 10.1: "Actions that directly or indirectly lead to the death, reduction in the number or disruption of habitats of flora and fauna listed in the" Red Book "of the city of Moscow are prohibited".
Also, any construction in the areas adjacent to the Specially Protected Natural Areas must undergo an EIA - an expert assessment of the impact on the environment. Construction on the territory of protected areas is legally prohibited. Recall that responsibility for violation of all of the listed legislative norms is borne primarily by the Department of Nature Management and Environmental Protection of the Moscow Government, headed by Anton Olegovich Kulbachevsky.
Sadly, something else. In Moscow, one after another, natural territories and landscapes with established ecological and biological systems are being destroyed. “Well, they did it in the Brateyevskaya floodplain, but at the same time on a small site surrounded on all sides by hangars, depots, and shopping centers. In such small areas set aside for the Brateevskaya nature reserve, rare species of animals and birds that used to live there will not take root”, - said Ksenia Avilova, a leading researcher at the Biological Faculty of Moscow State University. - In general, the city is losing all its natural wealth before our eyes, turning into a set of tiled areas with stunted trees planted, which will be embellished with lanterns for winter. The biological diversity of the Moscow zakazniks is becoming increasingly poor, ”the scientist believes.
Indeed, in recent years, many specially protected natural areas of Moscow have suffered significant damage. In the Losiny Ostrov National Park in the northeast of Moscow, they plan to cut down hundreds of thousands of trees for the construction of an eight-lane alternate to the Shchelkovskoye Highway, a six-lane North-East Expressway, the Fairytale Forest residential complex and a shopping center. It is planned that at least 140 hectares of land will be withdrawn from the park, including 54 hectares of forest plantations. The corresponding draft federal government decree is now under consideration. The Mnevnikovskaya floodplain is undergoing aggressive development, the Setun River Valley Nature Reserve may become part of a parking lot for a high-rise building, which is being erected a few meters from the reserve despite protests from residents, gatherings with the participation of deputies and numerous petitions.
When you compare all these facts, a feeling of hopelessness envelops. Does it make sense to fight the system? “There is a sense, and this is an exclusively legal path. There is an urgent need to give a legal assessment of the actions of those who allow cutting down Specially Protected Areas and Nature Reserves. Officials do not respond to letters and inquiries or get off with meaningless replies. This means that we must appeal to the laws that they violate and go to the courts, to the prosecutor’s office. There is a violation of the law - the decision must be canceled. And there are positive examples here. In the Pokrovskoye-Streshnevo area, the Prosecutor's Office recognized the construction of a residential complex in a nature conservation area as illegal, and in Golyanovo, within Losiny Island, the developer's decision was also canceled. In the case of the Brateevskaya floodplain, we carried out an inspection from Rosprirodnadzor, I was part of it. There is a prospect in the struggle for the Brateevskaya floodplain. But this is a difficult case", - said the inspector of Rosprirodnadzor, lawyer Dmitry Legoshin.
According to Dmitry Legoshin, all addresses to the mayor and heads of departments of the Moscow government are not read by the addressees at all. "There was a case when one activist turned personally to Marat Khusnullin about illegal development in the nature protection zone. She specially came to one of the unofficial events where he was present It was about an appeal to him with thousands of signatures of Muscovites. But Mr. Khusnullin replied that he had no idea about this appeal, did not read it and advised him to communicate "on this issue" with his assistants . "Still, it is necessary to use everything. methods of influencing officials: to seek personal meetings with them, receptions, to give all the arguments and facts of violation of laws. It will not help to go to the courts and seek prosecutorial response measures, "said the inspector of Rosprirodnadzor.
It is worth noting that regional courts and prosecutors rarely come into conflict with local authorities. Moscow in this case is not an exception, but rather an illustrative example. Therefore, the only way out in this case is to file claims with higher instances, up to the Supreme Court and the ECHR. It seems that this is the only way to protect our national heritage.