Not surprisingly, rivers are best protected by the people living around them in the long run. Large NGOs have therefore developed various schemes to support such local groups in recent decades. Whatever these schemes and groups are called – most often the adoption of rivers, guardians of rivers, or patrons of streams – the principle is similar. In Moldova, we have supported five local groups on both sides of the Dniester River.
After finding and contacting suitable partners, we supported their activities with a small financial contribution and facilitated the exchange of experience among them. So, what has been achieved in just one year?
In the valley of the Baltata River, local volunteers reforested a total of 4.3 hectares, planting more than 7,000 trees. They also corrected the false river name signs on bridges around the village of Balabanesti so now the locals know which river they live by.
In the Tsipava Nature Reserve, a local group made and placed information signs, which were missing and the visitor traffic there was completely unregulated.
Around the Camenca River, people from the village of the same name found vanishing springs in the hillsides and fixed them so that locals and tourists can get water from them to refresh themselves, without the springs being destroyed by the movement of people.
In the Jagorlik Nature Reserve, volunteers planted thousands of sprouted acorns and placed 20 nests for waterbirds in deforested areas on the left bank of the Dniester River. As natural nests are often destroyed by activity at large hydroelectric dams upstream, this activity helps birds survive.
On the left bank of the Dniester River in Sucha Rybnitsa, a group of friends of nature (abbreviated as DŽiP in the local language) planted 140 trees in the water protection zone of a local stream and picked up trash at the springs in the nearby village of Stroyenets.
We organized a meeting for the members of all the supported groups in the Jagorlik Reserve in December 2021 at which they presented their activities to each other and exchanged experience and knowledge.