Locals and national media successfully engaged in planned ALUM demonstration
08 September 2023
The first stakeholder meetup at the ALUM method demonstration site, near Lake Velnezers in Jugla resulted in large interest from locals and attention from national media. Around 50 locals visited the informative tent on Wednesday, September 6th where they had an opportunity to talk with project partners (Latvian Institute of Aquatic Ecology (LIAE), the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development of the Republic of Latvia (MEPRD), Riga City Council) about the planned lake treatment with the innovative for Baltics ALUM method in 2024. The overall attitude was positive and the majority of locals have already noticed that the lake's ecological quality is poor (e.g. due to algal blooms in summer and autumn). Yet, there were also concerns regarding the method's safety on fish and human health, possible restrictions to swimming during or after the treatment, and negative impacts on the landscape due to the usage of large treatment equipment. All questions were collected and will be discussed with Swedish partners and invited target groups during the project's kickoff event in September.
On the morning of Thursday, September 7th project experts from LIAE took out the scientific fishing nets and around 30 locals and media had the opportunity to see how the lake's pre-assessment activities are carried out. Fishes were removed from the nets, sorted, and transported to LIAE for further research. The first results show that the fish population in Lake Velnezers is more degraded than previously assumed. Monthly water quality monitoring and first fish survey are mandatory tasks to assess the lake's initial status and calculate the aluminum sulfate dose for ALUM treatment needs, as well as to demonstrate the method's safety and effectiveness.