++ Residents block illegal construction of hydropower plants in Bosnia and Herzegovina ++ Today, residents and environmental activists blocked construction works on the river Bjelava and its tributary, the Mala Bjelava, despite the ban on assembly and Corona-related curfew. From 7 am, about two dozen people prevented workers from reaching the construction site. Unable to resume their works, they eventually left.
More than 60 scientists from Albania, Austria and Germany have collected their knowledge about the biodiversity and ecology of the Vjosa on 385 pages. The comprehensive study "The Vjosa in Albania - a riverine ecosystem of European significance", published in Acta ZooBot Austria, was presented by the lead scientists at Tirana International Hotel on December 6th.
++ Hydropower plant projects Poçem and Kalivaç to be suspended immediately. ++ Standing Committee to the Bern Convention recognizes imminent danger to unique ecosystem. ++ Success for nature conservation NGOs in their struggle to save one of Europe’s last free flowing rivers. ++
Tomorrow, Tuesday (July 17) at 19:40, the documentary "Europe's last wild river - is a dam threatening Albania's nature" about the Vjosa - the fight against the projected dams, and why this rivers is so important to scientists - will be aired on ARTE! Don’t miss it! Sorry, in German only… Find more info HERE
++ Representatives of the Bern Convention emphasize the conservation value of the river ++ Albanian Government signs concession contracts for HPP Kalivac nevertheless ++ Representatives of the Bern Convention visited the Vjosa in order to investigate to which extent plans for hydropower development are jeopardizing the objectives of the Bern Convention. The on-the-spot appraisal was accompanied by an independent expert.
Between April 17th and May 6th, eleven scientists from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Albania went on an expedition to collect data on biodiversity as well as ecosystem functions for the entire Vjosa river network. With great effort, 300 river kilometers were sampled by use of the most state-of-the-art methods and equipment. During this expedition – led by Dr. Gabriel Singer of the Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin – the Vjosa’s exceptional value was confirmed once more:
+++ Impacts of hydropower projects for nature, people and coastal region to be calculated +++ The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (BOKU), together with the Polytechnic University of Tirana, have started an assessment of the sediment transport in the Vjosa river in Albania. They are measuring the amount of gravel, sand and fine sediments the river transports into the Mediterranean Sea each year.
Nominated for World Heritage Site status, Lonjsko Polje in Croatia is a 50 000 hectares stretch of floodplain in the Posavina region, between the Sava River and Mt Moslavačka Gora. Situated along Lonja River, a Sava tributary that gives the park its name, this huge retention basin is famed for the diversity of its flora and fauna. Watch this video portraying the beauty and diversity of the Lonjsko Polje:
Albanian filmmaker Artan Rama from “Elementi i pestë“ accompanied our scientists on an Vjosa expedition in April 2017 and filmed a documentary about the planned destruction of Europe’s last big wild river. It is about the uniqueness of the ecosystem Vjosa, about affected residents, as well as about the court decision in favour of a free-flowing Vjosa. Enjoy!
In Albanian society, the opposition against the projected hydropower plants on the Vjosa River is receiving further support. In an open letter to the country´s Minister of Energy and Industry, Damian Gjiknuri, the Confederation of Albanian industries is calling for a moratorium on the construction of dams on the Vjosa River and its tributaries.
Our group of allies is increasing! Scientists in our network not only lend their own data but also use their independent voices to advocate for the protection of rivers.
The interactive map to explore the region in detail based on different criteria.
The Eco-Masterplan for Balkan Rivers is a comprehensive study which, for the first time, combines knowledge about biodiversity (fish, mussels, caddisflies), integrity of rivers and floodplains (hydromorphology), as well as the location of protected areas.
We are a coalition of NGOs who have launched the campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” in order to raise awareness about the imminent dam craze on the Balkan peninsula and to spare the most valuable rivers and river stretches from destruction.