But things are looking a bit more green on nearby Kamchatka Peninsula, a living eden where volcanos comingle with glaciers and sprawling wilderness: in a move to protect a large portion of the world's salmon population, the local government is hoping to protect nine entire rivers and more than six million acres of land--an area triple the size of Yellowstone National Park.
(Copyright New York Times)
In a gorgeous and remote area of the country coming under increasing threat of development, the government of Kamchatka, the New York Times writes, "is selecting protection zones not to create wildlife reserves, [the region's first deputy governor] said, but because fish runs are the best foundation for the peninsula's economy. Oil, gas and mining sectors will be developed, he said, but will provide a comparably brief revenue stream. Sustainable fishing, he said, can last generations."
Andrei Klimenko of the Wild Salmon Center, an Oregon-based organization working internationally to conserve salmon runs, called the proposal, which would potentially protect millions of salmon, "unprecedented."
What makes this special is that these rivers are being protected while they are still amazing fish producers...To preserve something that is not destroyed is much less expensive than restoring an ecosystem that is already broken.
The move in one of Russia's easternmost regions comes some months after President Vladimir Putin did a swift green about-face, ordering that a controversial pipeline passing near Siberia's treasured Lake Baikal be relocated further away from the lake--after years of lobbying by Russia's nascent network of environmental NGOs.
While such interests still lack real sway in Russia, with its ongoing oil fever, it looks like the government won't be able to ignore the call of the wild quite the same way again.