Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe and has a total area of 233,062 square miles. Within this area, the country has 1,729 miles of coastline along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The various regions within the country have diverse habitats and geographic characteristics ranging from highlands to lowlands and plains to plateaus. The entire country has several rivers running through it. This article takes a look at some of the longest rivers in the nation.
Major Rivers of Ukraine
The Danube River spans a length of 1,777 miles and is the second longest river in Europe. It is the longest river that passes through Ukraine, although it also runs through several other countries as well. Ukraine is the last country to see the Danube before it empties into the Black Sea. It creates the Danube Delta in both Ukraine and Romania. Around 272 square miles of its total 1,603 square miles are in Ukraine. In this delta, the Danube splits into 3 rivers, becoming the Chilia, the Sulina, and the Saint George. The area creates 23 major ecosystems, including the Pannonian Steppe grasslands, wetlands, swamps, and the "before-delta" where freshwater and saltwater mix. These habitats provide homes to diverse plant and animal species. Over 320 bird species can be found here in the summer, around half of which are migratory. During the winter, the area is filled with millions of birds. The waters are home to a number of fish, including pike, perch, and carp. Along the river, poplars, oak, and willow trees can be found.
The Dnieper River is the second longest river that passes through Ukraine. It has a total of 1,423 miles, shared among Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. More of the Dnieper runs through Ukraine than the Danube, a total of 680 miles. It provides an important navigation route for trade and is an important part of the economy. Additionally, it is a source of hydroelectric power for the country and as such, has a number of hydroelectric states, dams, and reservoirs. Two of these hydroelectric stations are the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station and the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant. The reservoirs have large ship locks that allow for ships as big as 886 feet by 59 feet, both passenger and cargo ships navigate the river. This river is also the native habitat for the Quagga mussel, which has now become an invasive species around the world.
The third longest river that runs through the country is the Dniester. It has a total length of 846 miles, 247 of which are in nearby Moldova. The 600 miles running through Ukraine create the Dniester Canyon, which is between 260 and 660 feet. The canyon area hosts arboreal and shrub-like trees as well as a number of other plant and animal species. This river is considered to have the cleanest waters in the country.
Other rivers found in Ukraine are listed in the chart below.
The rivers within the nation of Ukraine face several environmental threats, including urban development, tourism, agricultural runoff, industrial pollutants, and fishing. Of note, is the risk of radioactive waste contamination. The previously mentioned Dnieper river is near a radioactive dump site and near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, a restricted zone with high levels of radioactive contamination after the 1986 accident. Developments along the rivers and within the Danube Delta are altering the ecosystem and disrupting the breeding patterns of fish. In addition, agricultural runoff and overfishing have resulted in decreased fish populations.