Ukraine has a great diversity of natural landscapes and wildlife. For this reason areas of Ukraine have been declared protected areas, nature reserves and National parks. National Parks in Ukraine are vital for preserving large natural areas and provide the country with great opportunities to develop ecotourism.
Briefly about the Shatsk Lakes:
1. Country: Ukraine
2. Name: Shatsk Lakes
3. Geographical coordinates: 51`31’N 23`50’E
4. Area: (in hectares) 32, 850 ha, incl. 6, 628 ha of water, 1, 977 ha of marshes (mires) and peatlands, 4, 492 ha of meadows, 13, 935 ha of forests. This site is territory of the Shatskyi National Nature Park.
5. Overview: Wetland site Shatsk Lakes is the part of unique system (which consists from 22 lakes) with marshes (mires), peatlands, meadows and forests.
6. General location: Shatsk Lakes is situated on the territory of Shatskyi administrative district of Volynska Oblast (administrative region of Ukraine), 160 km north-west from Lutsk city (administrative centre of Volynska Oblast), on the border with Belarus.
7. Local residents: More than 12 000 people live in the biosphere’s transition area where they are engaged in agriculture, tourism and other public services. Many of them belong to different cultures, nationalities and religions. In addition to this variety, more than 100 000 tourists visit the reserve each year. While the business opportunities created by tourism contribute to a significant portion of the local economy, local communities have made earnest efforts to ensure that any economic development does not negatively affect the park.
8. What to do: Beach- and sun-bathing; boating, yachting and catamaran walking; biking, hiking; wild bird watching (8,000 -12,000 birds on migration, 27 Red Book species); rural (green) tourism etc.
9. Jurisdiction: local Radas of the Deputies. Functional jurisdiction: on protected area of the Shatskyi National Nature Park – of the State Committee of Forestry, on other areas – regional administrative authorities of different sectors: State Committee of Forestry (forest use and hunting), Ministry of Agricultural Industry Complexes of Ukraine (farming), State Committee of Fishery (fishing), State Committee of Water Resources (water using) etc.
Shatsk is a regional center, located on the north-west of Volhyn almost on the Ukrainian – Polish state border. In 1595 Shatsk was mentioned as a town. Today, the region has significant recreational resources: moderate – continental climate, varied landscapes, forests, a large number of lakes, fields of treatment and mineral springs. It is the best place for recreation and ecotourism.
Shatsk is known for its natural park «Shatski Lakes». The Shatsk National Park is the greatest potential of recreation resources in Ukraine. The park has the cleanest 22 lakes of scenic beauty and unique flora and fauna. Generally, the lakes have been nicknamed Shatskie lakes, since they are located near the village Shatsk. But everyone has its own name: Svitiaz, Pulemetskoe, Luke, Lyutsimer, Ostrovyanskoe, Krymnoe, Sand lake, etc. The second-largest water reservoir of our country is the Svitiaz Lake. Various landscapes and rich biological diversity were a primary basis for creating in December 1983 the Shatsk National Nature Reserve. The international community recognized environmental significance of the complex of forests, marshlands, sand lakes and by resolution of the 17th Session of the Bureau of UNESCO MAB Coordinating Committee in March 2002, the Shatsk National Nature Reserve granted the status of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. These are 22 unique lakes of karst origin. People who have seen once these lakes will long remember the wide smooth water surface of the lakes of Svitiaz and Pulemetske. Picturesque landscapes are enhanced by the therapeutic air filled with coniferous scent and the presence of lovely sand beaches. It is presented by the largest natural ecosystems in Polissia Region and by rich biodiversity: about 330 vertebrate species (44 species of mammals, 238 –birds, 7 – reptiles, 12 – amphibians, 29 – fish) and 825 vascular plants conservation of which is guaranteed within the territory of the Shatskyi National Nature Park.
Shatsk Lakes (Svitiaz, Pulemetske, Luky, Liutsymer, Ostrivske, Peremut) are situated within the Upper-Prypiat physical-geographical region of western part of Western Polissia. This wetland area comprises lakes, rivers, ditches, marshes (mires), meadows, forests. This territory has three structures of level in geological aspect: crystal base, Shatsk’s sagging, Jurrasic and Cretaceous ages, mezozoic sediments. On the whole territory upperchalk of sediments spread. The territory of Shatsk Lakes has name also as alluvial-moraine or accumulative lowland. Lake’s water is very clean and transparent. The deepest lake is Svitiaz. It depth is up to 58 m. This territory divides into two catchment areas: Bug and Prypiat Rivers. The territory is situated in the Western part of the Atlantic continental region. Moderate wet and warm summer, and mild winter with ice-cover lasting on water bodies from some weeks to three months are most characteristic as well as considerable precipitation (about 600 mm per year).
Wetland site Shatsk Lakes is one of the best lake complexes of Ukraine. The lakes have weak water circulation. The water input is formed by precipitation and surface and ground water inflow. The water is calcium-hydrocarbonatic with low mineralization near 280 mh/l. After beginning exploitation of Upper-Prypiat drainage systems the abatement of the water-level of lakes were observed. The stabilisation of the water-level of lakes is possible after complex’s renaturalization of wetlands only.
The vegetation at the site is typical for the forest zone. The vegetation of the lake-side and riverside consists predominantly of reed-beds with sedges and grasses on the ground. Different sedges and grasses generally grow on the marshes (mires) and meadows.
The lakes are the places of recreation. There are numerous sanatoriums and other recreation buildings. Hunting, sport and small commercial fishing are conducted. Fishery gives every year near 7 kg of fish per ha on the Svitiaz Lake, 19 kg/ha – on the Pulemetske Lake, and 15 kg/ha on the Luky Lake.
There is no any activity on protected area of the Shatskyi National Nature Park and exploitation of natural resources (hunting, fishing, grazing of cattle, haymaking, recreation etc.) outside protected area, including other areas of the Park, and they are limited and controlled.
The site has national status as the Shatskyi National Nature Park and international as wetland site. Mainly the Administration of this national park ensures protection of wetland site.
There are some research on waders, waterfowl, other water birds in this area from 1983. Scientific department of Direction of the Shatskyi National Nature Park, University of L’viv, Western Department of the Ukrainian Ornithological Society keep substantial information on breeding birds in their database, migrant and wintering birds data. In last time project on renaturalization of wetlands starts. The main purpose of this project is improvement of natural conditions for breeding birds and feeding sites of migrants.
Current conservation education is held by the direction of the Shatskyi National Nature Park, the Shatsk Forest School, Museum of Nature.
The reserve of the territory is used for educational and pedagogic purposes. In this site there are many meetings and conferences on conservation of nature and for ornithology.