National Nature Park to be Established in Karaganda Region

ASTANA – On May 30, the 2030 Master Plan was discussed at the Akimat of the Karaganda region (the regional government of Karaganda) with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development, the Astana branch of the Kazakh Research and Design Experimental Institute of Earthquake-Resistant Construction and Architecture (RSE KazNIISSA), deputies of the regional maslikhat (the local assembly) and representatives of non-governmental organizations.

The 2030 Master Plan provides a long-term vision for territorial development and organization, which was developed between 2010 and 2013 in accordance with the Strategy 2030, Prognosis plan and the 2010-2014 State Programme for Accelerated Industrial-Innovative Development (PAIID).

The Master Plan is aimed at improving the quality of life and planning for sustainable spatial development in Kazakhstan. The general plan includes the basic principles of settlement and the distribution of resources in accordance with the provisions of strategic and environmental planning; the main provisions of environmental management and economic activities, the development of production, transport, engineering, social and recreational infrastructure of national importance; basic measures to improve the environmental situation in the region, conservation of areas with objects of historical and cultural heritage, and (or) protected landscape objects; the use or restrictions to use protected areas, areas of mineral deposits exposed to hazardous (harmful) phenomena and processes of natural and man-made disasters or extreme climatic conditions for implementing architecture and urban planning.

The Master Plan project is divided into two parts. The first part includes the development of conceptual provisions and directions of development of the territory of Kazakhstan for 25-30 years. The other part includes detailed basic principles and directions of spatial development of the state through detailed design elements covering the main stages of the Master Plan over 15 to 20 years.

According to Kazbek Mataev, deputy director of the Astana branch of the Kazakh Research and Design Experimental Institute of Earthquake-Resistant Construction and Architecture (RSE KazNIISSA), the Master Plan for the organization of the territory of Kazakhstan provides for the establishment of the Ulytau State National Nature Park in the Karaganda region.

“According to the basic elements of the natural and ecological framework created within the general scheme for the development of a network of specially protected areas by 2020, the Ulytau National Nature Park and Ulytau-Arganaty State Nature Reserve are expected to be established,” Mataev said at the presentation of the project

He also noted that from 2020 to 2030, the Betpak Dala State Nature Reserve and the National Nature Park in Northern Balkhash are proposed to be created. The Master Plan also includes all bird areas in the system of specially protected nature areas of the Karaganda region.

“Along the transit elements of the natural ecological framework, the wildlife crossings through the Zhezkazgan-Beineu railway line for saiga migration are proposed to be built by 2020, via the Aral-Zheskazgan highway by 2030 and the Zheskazgan-Balkhash highway over the projected term of development,” Mataev added.

Within the Master Plan, project proposals have been drafted for the development of specially protected areas in Kazakhstan for 2020 through 2030. Currently, protected areas equal 8.5 percent of the country’s area (23,101,500 hectares). Numerous proposals for developing protected areas have been drafted. One of those proposals would increase the total amount of specially protected areas to 9.2 percent by 2020 and 14.8 percent by 2030.

According to Turlybek Mussabayev, director of the Astana branch of the Kazakh Research and Design Experimental Institute of Earthquake-Resistant Construction and Architecture (RSE KazNIISSA), the creation of a steppe national park is planned for the North Kazakhstan region.

“In order to protect biodiversity, the steppe national park on the basis of existing reserves in the region is supposed to be created during 2020-2030,” Mussabayev said at the presentation of the Master Plan.

According to Mussabayev , the main environmental problems of the North Kazakhstan region include air pollution in Petropavlovsk city and the small towns of the region, the pollution of the trans-boundary river basin of the Ishim River, inefficient sewage treatment and waste problems of production and consumption.

“The proposed project and prognosis options for designing the environment solutions provide a set of measures to improve the ecological status of the North Kazakhstan region,” Mussabayev said.

Experts believe the establishment of the national parks and nature reserves, particularly in Ulytau, will revive the damaged ecosystem.

Protected areas for conserving biological diversity in the Karaganda region include the Karkaraly National Nature Park, part of the Buiratau National Nature Park and the Korgalzhyn National Nature Reserve, nine nature reserves, the Zhezkhazgan Botanical Garden and the Karaganda Zoo. However, Ulytau is of historical and cultural significance, along with its Ulytau National Historical and Cultural Museum-Reserve. Ulytau is especially abundant with natural ecosystems typical for the central part of the country. Only in this region can some plants and animals be found that are included on the list of endangered and threatened species. The area is also unique because the poetic myths and legends of argali appeared at these sites.

According to hunters, the revival of the argali population is very promising if appropriate conditions are created.

In 2009 and 2011, as part of the GEF / UNDP / Government of Kazakhstan project Conservation and Sustainable Management of Steppe Ecosystems, the Kazakhstan Biodiversity Association conducted field research at the Ulytau site. Their results gave an objective assessment of the current state of the region’s ecosystems. The association developed a feasibility study for expanding the current reserve.

“The project area has a complex composition of land users and lands of various categories. In order to preserve the unique natural complexes taking into account the interests of the local population, we recommend the creation of a state national nature park with an expansion of the existing reserve. In fact, a new wildlife sanctuary will be created. Along with this, the project area has a number of advantages that allow us to recommend it as the state natural park – national or regional,” said Alexander Berber, head of the regional territorial inspection division for forestry and hunting.

When creating the Ulytau State National Nature Park based on the existing the Ulytau forest and wildlife protection farm, all the lands of the state forest fund will become protected areas. The National Nature Park area will be more than 54,000 hectares.

Experts believe a protective buffer zone of a minimum of two kilometers wide should be created around the park.

The Ulytau-Arganaty Complex Nature Reserve will be established without negatively affecting land users, and if in the process of drafting the feasibility study, areas of reserve land are found on its territory, they will be classified as protected areas and included in the national park. The area of the existing reserve will increase significantly, and under the project, its management will fall under the jurisdiction of the national park.

At both the park and reserve, there is a high degree of nature conservation, which is of special ecological and scientific value. Both also contain unique animate and inanimate objects, which meet the criteria of the natural reserve fund and are included in the list of rare species of animals and plants. Natural landscapes and ecosystems are extremely valuable and Ulytau and Arganaty are mountain oasises in the desert steppe.

Experts believe the creation of the national park will help revive the populations of argali, which populated the area until the mid-1970s. At the same time, other wild animal populations will also be helped, including antelope, elk, deer, wild boar, grouse, partridge, Pallas, bustard, little bustard, Jack, Plover, Sandgrouse, Sandgrouse, black stork and others. Moreover, Ulytau has everything to reacclimatize the Przewalski horse, Asiatic wild ass, red deer, mountain goat, which formerly inhabited these places. In addition, there is a number of important historical and cultural monuments in the area of the park and reserve. In addition, it is not difficult to get to the protected area, which is just a 140-kilometre drive from Zhezkazgan and Satpayev cities.

The reserved area is located far from active mining and industrial development areas, which is why the area is an excellent candidate for a national nature park

Experts believe the flow of tourists is gradually increasing and the area is suitable for various forms of recreation, tourism and an organization dedicated to environmental education. The development of the tourism sector is included in the concept for the socio-economic development of the Karaganda region and its Ulytau district.

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