The Conservation Committee of SIL has accepted Lake Wigry (see related story), within the Wigry National Park, as the first lake to be adopted by SIL. Lake Wigry meets the criteria for adoption set out by the Conservation Committee. The project is clearly of value to the National Park and a nucleus of well qualified research workers and facilities are available for research (laboratory, equipment, boats, transport). The lake is considered to be of international importance and the proximity of 40 smaller lakes, within the National Park, ranging from clear water alkaline lakes to acid dystrophic lakes, gives high limnological diversity to the area. Environmental threats exist in the form of sewage from the town of Suwalki (70,000 inhabitants) and from about 600 small farms and homesteads, with untreated sewage throughout the catchment.
Although the lake is not traversed by international boundaries, the borders of the Park lie within 30 km of the Lithuanian, Russian and Belorussian frontiers. Some of these countries already have National Parks of similar character, in the vicinity, and a programme of research and co-operation is being developed.
Co-operation with SIL
The Scientific Committee for Lake Wigry, presided by Professor Boguslaw Zdanowski of the Institute of Inland Fisheries, Oloztyn, will prepare a management plan which defines long-term research and monitoring programmes, with advice from SIL specialists, to develop integrated projects of value to the conservation of the lake, and setting out priorities. This will indicate the desirable time-scale of different projects.
SIL will be available to provide input or advise when the management plan for the National Park is revised.
The Park can offer SIL experts and other visiting scientists living accommodation, laboratory space and equipment, the use of boats and transport in the Park (free of charge).
These facilities offer a great incentive for research workers from all over the world to come to Lake Wigry to carry out projects, within the scope of the research programme, for sabbaticals or on research grants. Projects will be advertised in SILNEWS and on the SIL webpage [www.limnology.org]. Such projects may eventually lead to joint studies with other laboratories.
Co-operation with SIL and with scientists associated with SIL may entail joint research projects, advice on management issues, endorsement of research activities of the Park’s staff, assistance with organisation of scientific meetings at Lake Wigry, donation of publications or apparatus to the Park’s laboratory.
Such co-operation could provide the stimulus to revive research which was the foundation of Polish limnology at the hydrobiological laboratory set up by Alfred Litynski, in 1920, on the shores of Lake Wigry. This laboratory was closed during the second world war and has never been reopened because of lack of funding.