TA CR has awarded a price to our research on the environmental impact of snow-making

For the eleventh time the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic (TA CR) has awarded prices to the best projects in applied research for the past year. The price in the category GOVERNANCE was awarded to a unique project of researchers from Masaryk University looking into the effects of snow-making on biological components of the natural environment in the Giant Mountains (Krkonoše) National Park and its buffer zone.

9 Nov 2023 Leoš Verner Jiří Schlaghamerský

The award ceremony took place in the historic building of the National Museum in Prague. The award in the GOVERNANCE category was received by (from right) Jiří Schlaghamerský and Michal Straka from Masaryk University and Karel Tajovský from the Biology Centre of the CAS: TA CR

The 20-member research team consisted mainly of researchers from the Department of Botany and Zoology of Masaryk University’s Faculty of Science, supplemented by three colleagues from the Institute of Soil Biology, Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences. The project’s aim was to assess the effects of the making and application of artificial snow on biological components of the natural environment in the Giant Mountains National Park and its buffer zone. Effects on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems were assessed. This included the study of algae and invertebrates of streams and reservoirs used for water extraction as well as of the vegetation and invertebrates living in the soil, on its surface and in the vegetation of meadows used as pistes for down-hill skiing.

Hydrobioložka Alena Dostálová při odběru vzorku čerstvého technického sněhu během umělého zasněžování sjezdovky.  Foto: Archiv ÚBZ.

“The project assessed the impact of snow-making on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. More specifically, we studied the effects on algae and invertebrates in streams and reservoirs used for water extraction and effects on vegetation and on the invertebrates living in soil, its surface and the vegetation of meadows used for down-hill skiing,” said zoologist and principal investigator Jiří Schlaghamerský from the Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science of Masaryk University. “The topic of snow-making also presented us with an opportunity to study the drying out of streams that occurs during winter due to excessive water extraction for the purpose of snow-making,” added the hydrobiologist Michal Straka from the same department.

Zooložky Eva Líznarová a Martina Bílková při odběru půdních vzorků.  Foto: Archiv ÚBZ.

One of the project objectives was to use the obtained results as a basis for the writing-up of Methodological Guidelines that would serve, in particular, the nature conservation authorities, but also, for instance, as a basic source for water management authorities, when approving water extraction from streams and the construction of water accumulation reservoirs. “One output of the project is a kind of manual instructing the reader how to deal with snow-making and what to take into account with regard to water extraction when approving it,” explained Associate Professor Schlaghamerský.

Taking just the scope and intensity of their research conducted on submontane to montane meadows used as ski runs, the results of the project are unique according to the experts involved. Nowhere in the world has this topic been studied in such a breadth based on more than two years of field work.

Hydrobiolog Jan Šupina měří nárost fytobentosu ve vodním toku. Foto: Archiv ÚBZ.

TA CR has awarded prices to the best projects in applied research for the past year already for the eleventh time. Four top projects with substantial benefits for society and economy were chosen, one in each of the categories PARTERSHIP, GOVERNANCE, BUSINESS, and SOCIETY. The absolute winner, elected by a poll on the TA CR website and among the audience of the awarding ceremony, was the winning project in the category SOCIETY, whose team from Masaryk University’s Faculty of Social Studies and the Janáček Academy of Performing Arts had developed an on-line system for the detection of talented children.

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