The port of Riga is one of the few ports in Europe to have protected nature reserve zones in its territory. Specially protected nature territories, which occupy 75 ha of the total port area, make the Port of Riga one of the greenest and most environmentally friendly ports in Europe. The Freeport of Riga Authority is responsible for environment-friendly management of the port with special focus on natural habitat preservation.
The Freeport of Riga Authority performs environmental management in the port in compliance with the ISO 14001 standard requirements. With the aim to comply with the standard monitoring of air, groundwater, excavated soil disposal sites and waterfowl is being carried out, as well as ship-generated waste management and security control of port terminals.
The daily operations of the Freeport of Riga Authority are also carried out in compliance with high environmental standards, introducing “greener”, more sustainable and more responsible management processes - in accordance with the developed energy management policy energy efficiency has been improved and energy consumption has been reduced. Moreover, transition to the use of electric cars is ongoing, solar collectors, which have been installed on the port buildings, ensure the use of environmentally friendly energy.
There are two protected nature areas in the territory of the Freeport of Riga: the Kremeri Nature Reserve and Milestibas Island, that is the part of the Natura 2000 Piejura Nature Park. The Nature Conservation Agency of Latvia is responsible for protected nature territories, while the Freeport of Riga Authority manages both territories on a daily basis, providing for order, environment protection and preservation of habitats. The Freeport of Riga’s territory borders on “Vecdaugava” Nature Reserve and “Daugavgriva” Nature Reserve, which shall be taken into account when organizing economic activities in the port of Riga and planning its future development.
Within the framework of environment protection measures, the Freeport of Riga Authority regularly:
- maintains, cleans up and improves the territory of the port, including the territories of nature reserves;
- within the framework of nesting waterfowl monitoring, annual survey and counting measures of the bird population are performed in order to assess and analyze changes in waterfowl nesting, as well as to control the impact of the port activities on waterfowl nesting habitats;
- restores existing waterfowl nesting sites and creates new ones. Artificial islands suitable for nesting have been created and floating platforms have been established on Milestibas Island and in the Kremeri Nature Reserve.
Kremeri Nature Reserve
Kremeri is a 15 ha swampy area located on the left bank of the Daugava below Voleri. Kremeri Nature Reserve is an important bird nesting area, where bird species, that are especially protected in Latvia, can be found – e.g. Eurasian bittern, Western marsh harrier and Eurasian penduline tit. Thanks to the regular cutting of reeds by the Freeport of Riga Authority in the Kremeri Nature Reserve, after a long break, the black headed gulls have started nesting here again.
Milestibas Island is a part of the Natura 2000 Seaside Nature Park, which was founded in 1962, being the third oldest nature park in Latvia. Milestibas Island is a swampy 0.6 km2 island located between Bullupe and Daugava. The main natural treasures of the Milestības Island are the birds and a specially protected habitat - a gray dune with its characteristic rare plant species. Currently about 30 bird species are staying at the Milestibas Island and its water bodies - small lakes of the island have become a nesting habitat for some of them.
The Freeport of Riga Authority has built a 12-meter-high bird-watching tower “Knābis” on the island. From the top of the tower one can see the Daugava and its estuary, Bolderāja, Mangalsala and Ziemelblazma areas, as well as the surrounding wetlands.