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Minutes of seminar Wisely managed habitats for Riga region development
On 2nd of November, at Environmental Protection and Regional Development Ministry, seminar organised by NAT-PROGRAMME project took place and it was attended by three dozen management and planning specialists willing to learn more about the newly developed guidelines of coastal protection and management * and share their vision for opportunities and challenges regarding management of coastal habitats in the vicinity of Riga.

At the opening of the meeting, NAT-PROGRAMME coastal habitats expert Brigita Laime welcomed interest of participants towards coastal management issues and stressed workshop discussion topics. B.Laime reminded the audience about ecological principles within a coastal habitat management , i.e. seashore biotopes and species habitats can not persist if natural processes ,e.g., wind activity -which forms or deflates sand dunes, waves, and the currents - as the factors in transport and deposition of coastal sediments and coastal flushing, forced by waves, are limited or affected.

In many cases, man-made structures (ports, piers, etc.) are affecting natural coastal processes in a bad manner - creating a sand deficit wich primarily leads to decreasing beach areas and rinsed shores. Without understanding the real causes, trying to prevent impacts - common practice is to plant osier, pine, and even aggressive, uncharacteristic of Latvian flora species, such as rosa rugosa. Lecturer stressed that each activity in coastal biotope management should be assessed first, and only then may be followed by action. There is great need to rise public awareness and knowledge of managers on the subject, to encourage to choose favorable management practices for the coastal biotopes and species habitats.

Seashore value in Riga and region can be expressed in an economic category, which includes a society needs for a range of services offered - both leisure and recreation, as well as the area which affects economy through operation and development of port

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