The Ural river, the third longest river in Europe, is a unique ecosystem. Unlike other large European rivers the river has not been regulated and the natural hydrological regime is still intact. Thanks to that it has the only remaining spawning habitats in the entire Caspian basin for all sturgeon species. Nevertheless, this fact is not well known to the broader scientific and environmental communities.
The Ural river is also an interesting place due to its rich history of sustainable use of aquatic resources in general and sturgeons in particular. The traditional life style of the local communities, Ural Cossacks, was focused on the preservation and rational use of sturgeon species. This interesting experience of sustainable river-related management is not adequately reported in literature.
To secure further Ural sturgeon preservation the river basin ecosystem and human activities in the region must be managed in an integrated sustainable manner. The sturgeon species can be used as a natural indicator and an incentive for such transboundary IWRM cooperation taking into account all three components of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. To secure basin IWRM and sturgeon stock restoration the International Ural Sturgeon Park should be established. The role of the Park will be to secure the natural reproduction in the Ural as the primary strategy for the sturgeon stock replenishment. The Ural River Basin Project, which aims at the creation of such a Park, was launched in 2007. This volume is devoted to the uniqueness, history and problems of the Ural river basin, its sturgeons and perspectives of their conservation.
Preface.- Acknowledgements.- Contents.- Abbreviations.- Part I International Experience in Transboundary Watershed Management and Sturgeon Restoration.- 1.1 Water.- Environmental Security and the Role of River Regimes in Fostering (Environmental) Cooperation: Case of the Sava Commission; A. Colakhodzic.- Challenges and Prospects of Transboundary Water Management in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia; S. Koeppel.- Successful Transboundary River Basin and Estuary Cooperation: Benchmarks for the Ural River Basin?; J. Simpson et al.- The Issues of Transboundary Rivers in South Caucasus at the End of the 20th and Beginning of the 21st Centuries; T. Vardanian.- 1.2 Sturgeon Species.- Migratory Fish Stocks in Transboundary Basins -- Implications for Governance, Management and Research; J. Valbo-Jorgensen et al.- The Key Threats to Sturgeons and Measures for their Protection in the Lower Danube Region; M. Lenhardt.- Rescue Efforts to Save Sturgeons in America; M.K. Zaidi, S. Ireland.- Rivers Rehabilitation: New Approach to the Design of Fish Passes Through Dams; V. Lagutov.- Part II The Ural River Basin.- 2.1. Water Resources.- The Ural River Basin: Hydrology, Characteristics and Water Use; V. Lagutov.- River Flow Formation in the Russia South Urals; Y. Nesterenko, M. Nesterenko.- Climate Change and Water Resource in North Caucasus and South Urals; N. Dronin, A. Kirilenko.- 2.2 Fish Resources.- The Ural River Sturgeons: Population Dynamics, Catch, Reasons for Decline and Restoration Strategies; Viktor Lagutov and Vladimir Lagutov.- Field and Genetic Approaches to Enhance Knowledge of Ural River Sturgeon Biology; D. Phaedra.- Fish Biodiversity of the Orenburg Region; A. Gryzunov.- 2.3 Restoration Activities.- Establishment of the International Ural Sturgeon Park; Viktor Lagutov and Vladimir Lagutov.- The URALBAS Resolution.- Index.-