Monday, February 27, 2017

The Snail of Ohrid



Gocea ohridana is a snail found in only one location in the world—Lake Ohrid.

The whole population lives under stones in an area not bigger than 10 km2 at a depth of down to 3 m. Globally classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the main threats this snail faces include deforestation of the neighbouring areas that lead to erosion and an increased sediment load, stressing its ability to filter water.

Pollution from sewage from the settlements around the lake and agriculture in the Prespa Lakes basin, which drains into Lake Ohrid through underground connections, is another major threat to this species. The good news, however, is that the Macedonian part of Lake Ohrid is protected as a World Heritage Site.

The Albanian side is currently under national protection, while an international effort is under way to extend the existing World Heritage Property to cover the whole region of the lake.
Story by: Altina Ismaili and IUCN

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Gocea ohridana është një kërmill që gjendet vetëm në një vend të botës, në Liqenin e Ohrit. Gjithë popullsia e tyre jeton nën gurë në një zonë jo më të madhe se 10 km2 ne një thellësi deri në 3 m. Globalisht klasifikohet si mjaft e rrezikuar në listën e kuqe të IUCN për speciet e kërcënuara. Kërcënimi më i madh me të cilën përballet ky kërmill është shpyllëzimi në zonat e afërta, që cojnë në erozion dhe një rritje të ngarkesës së sendimenteve që pengojnë aftësinë e tij për ta filtruar ujin.

Ndotja nga ujërat e zeza që derdhen në liqen është një tjetër kërcënim për këto specie.
Lajmi i mirë është se sidoqoftë pjesa maqedonase e liqenit është e mbrojtur si trashëgimi botërore. Pjesa shqiptare është aktualisht nën mbrojtje kombëtar ndërsa një përpjekje ndërkombëtare po realizohet për ta shtrirë pasurinë aktuale botërore dhe për ta mbuluar gjithë rajonin e liqenit.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Why you should visit Ohrid in winter

When tourists are gone and winter is in the air, Ohrid becomes again the picturesque lakeside town that has enchanted visitors since the Byzantine Empire.
Actually, it is one of the 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are on both the Cultural and the Natural lists.
But I can’t help thinking about the time when I was on the other side of the lake, on the Albanian shore

The two experiences could not be more different: the touristy, postcard-perfect Macedonian outline of the Ottoman houses and the rough, neglected jumble of concrete on the Albanian side.
Anyone who has visited both sides of Ohrid Lake knows that these two landscapes are not a just lake, but a whole world apart.

By Giulia Blocal
The Ottoman houses on the shore of the lake are veiled in the morning mist, as if they were white ghosts against a blanket of white. This enveloping whiteness hovers over the wooden boats scattered around the lake and swallows the crown of houses ranged around it. Nevertheless, I know how beautiful the view is, having seen countless postcard-perfect pictures of this UNESCO-listed lake, which is one of the oldest in the world.
Ohrid in winter
When tourists are gone and winter is in the air, Ohrid becomes again the picturesque lakeside town that has enchanted visitors since the Byzantine Empire.The pale light of the sun reflects on deserted cobbled streets, and this glowing fog melts in time with the footfalls of the few people wandering around. The ancient stones drenched with rain emanate a wet, winterish smell, which –here and there- is abruptly interrupted by the warm smell of oven-baked bureks. 
The churches are scented with incense. Ohrid is well-known for its churches, which were 365 originally –one for each day of the year- a feature which won it the epithet of ‘the Jerusalem of the Balkans‘.
  
Ohrid’s churches, as well as its architecture, span more than two millennia, but this is just one of the reasons why this enchanting city is recognized by UNESCO. Actually, it is one of the 28 UNESCO World Heritage Sites that are on both the Cultural and the Natural lists.

I didn’t stumble upon any celebrations inside Ohrid’s churches. Rather, I always found a profound silence only occasionally interrupted by footsteps tiptoeing on the marble floorings: a solemn atmosphere I bet you can only find during this time of the year, when the town becomes quiet and idyllic again.

Unlike with my usual ‘travel-style’, I visited a lot of churches when in Ohrid, starting off with an ambitious plan in the early morning, but then slowly adopting a more Balkan approach as the day passed by. 
This implied Turkish coffees, Skopsko beers, some meaty snacks and the ubiquitous Ohrid trout, which is the protagonist of the traditional cuisine of the area and the only thing that the Macedonian shore has in common with the Albanian side across the lake.The area is also well-known for its centuries-old tradition of wine making. Macedonians love to drink, and Ohrid’s porches overlooking the lake are the perfect place to do it. During the summer, all these lakeside cafés are bustling, but now the paved promenade is empty and everything looks more authentic.

Even the accordion player at a fancy restaurant goes for Tose Proeski’s very Macedonian songs rather than the international repertoire of the summer. When the music stops, the only sound I can hear is the rhythmic percussion of waves on sand.
As I watch them coming and going, I can’t help thinking about the time when I was on the other side of the lake, on the Albanian shore. The two experiences could not be more different: the touristy, postcard-perfect Macedonian outline of the Ottoman houses and the rough, neglected jumble of concrete on the Albanian side.
Anyone who has visited both sides of Ohrid Lake knows that these two landscapes are not a just lake, but a whole world apart.

Original source:
http://www.blocal-travel.com/balkans/macedonia-fyrom/ohrid/ohrid-in-winter/

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Lake Ohrid withdrew drastically - what happened?

The level of Lake Ohrid decreased in January under the minimum of allowing quota determined by experts in the field. Its depth decreased by 23 centimeters in Albanian side of the Lake. The consequences of this phenomenon are serious for Lake Ohrid ecosystem and repair from this damage requires time, not to mention that could be irreversible.
Environment experts in Pogradec urgently raised the concern for this issue, because the decreased level in Albanian side of the Lake is more obvious than in Macedonian side. It was estimated that in Tushemisht the water receded up to 40 meters from the shores, and the depth of water decreased to 1.3 meter in this area.
According to Albanian local authorities, the cause for this problem is the uncontrolled water release in the Black Drin, opening the gates in Struga by Macedonian Authorities, without respecting the technical limits of water levels for the lake.  the lake withdrew drastically, due to

After raising this concern, the Authorities in Macedonia closed the gates at the level of 90%, thus preventing further degradation and damages on flora and fauna in Albanian side of the lake.
This issue was raised and supported by non-governmental organizations and civil societies in both countries. The problem was also discussed in the 5th Transboundary Meeting on Safeguarding Lake Ohrid, held in Pogradec in 9-10 February, where representatives from respective ministries and institutions on both countries participated.
Albania and FYR Macedonia sharing Lake Ohrid are in continuing communications and consultations in order to prevent such problems in the future. In the joint meeting in Pogradec, both countries agreed to reactivate the bilateral structures which are created in the framework of transboundary agreements and conventions signed by both countries for protection and sustainable development of Lake Ohrid basin. They agreed for the necessity of regular bilateral meetings to these structures as well.

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Bie niveli i Liqenit të Ohrit në Pogradec, çfarë ka ndodhur?

Niveli i liqenit të Ohrit gjate muajit Janar pesoi nje renie drastike te nivelit te tij, duke e kaluar edhe te ashtuquajturin “minimumin” e kuotes se lejuar te percaktuar nga ekspertet e fushes, e cila arriti ne fund te ketij muaji ne masen -23 centimetra. Pasojat e ketij fenomeni jane te renda per kete ekosistem dhe koha per riparimin e demit qe i shkaktohet ekosistemit eshte mjaft e gjate per te mos thene e pamundur. Per keto arsye ekspertët mjedisore në Pogradec ngritën me shqetësim këtë cështje, pasi kjo rënia e nivelit të ujit ne pjesen shqiptare ishte me e dukshme sidomos ne zonen nga Pogradeci ne Tushemisht ku uji ishte tërhequr deri ne 40 metër dhe ulje te nivelit te liqenit arriti deri ne 1.3 metër.

Sipas pales shqiptare, shkaktar për këtë situatë është hapja pa kriter e portave të Liqenit në Strugë duke mosrespektuar kete element teknik te percaktuar per nivelin e ujrave te liqenit nga ana e institucioneve pergjegjese ne Maqedoni. Eshte fakt qe pas shqetësimit të Autoriteteve shqiptare në Pogradec, te cilet u bene present edhe ne mediat maqedone, keto institucione reaguan duke mbyllur portat në masen 90%, duke bere te mundur parandalimin e degradimit te metejshem te flores dhe faunes ne zonen litorale te liqenit. Por duhet te theksohet qe kthimi i liqenit ne kuotat normale do te kerkoje kohe.
Ngjarja pati jehonë në dy anët e liqenit, kryesisht nga organizatat joqeveritare. Cështja u ngrit dhe gjatë takimit të 5-te të platformës ndërkufitare të Lqienit të Ohrit që u mbajt në Pogradec javën e shkuar, ku të pranishëm ishin përfaqësues të institucioneve qendrore dhe locale të te dy vendeve.
Dy vendet jane ne komunikim të vazhdueshëm që kjo ngjarje të mos ndodhë më, dhe u shtrua si domosdoshmeri krijimi apo riaktivizimit i strukturave bilaterale qe jane rrjedhoje e marrëveshjeve ndërkufitare apo konvetave nderkufiatre te nenshkruara nga te dy vendet per mbrojtjen dhe zhvillimin e qendrueshem te basenit te liqenit te Ohrit, si dhe domosdoshmerine e takimeve bilaterale te ketyre strukturave.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Greece to ratify the protection of Prespa Park

Prespa
Environment and Energy Minister Sokratis Famellos has tabled a bill in parliament that would ratify the International Agreement on the Protection and Sustainable Development of Prespa Park in northern Greece.

The bill would continue to protect the park as a natural resource.
Prespa Park (PP), is the first transboundary protected area in the Balkans, and was established on February 2, 2000, World Wetlands Day, with a joint declaration by the Prime Ministers of Greece, Albania and FYROM, following a proposal from the Society for the Protection of Prespa and the WWF.

The news was welcomed by the municipality of Prespa and various environmental organizations and local protection groups such as the Managing Body of Prespa National Park, the Company for the Protection of Prespa, WWF Hellas, the Greek Ornithological Society, the Nature Protection Society, the Environment and Cultural Heritage Company, and the Goulandris Museum of Natural History.

The organizations urged lawmakers from all parties to approve the bill, as it was approved unanimously in the parliaments of other neighboring European countries.

“Prespa Park is the first cross-border nature reserve in the Balkans. For all of us, the future of the Prespa region means the cooperation and bridging of the gaps for a peaceful coexistence, maintaining the precious natural environment and sustainable development. In this direction, the implementation of the agreement will be catalytic,” the organizations said in a joint statement.

Source: http://greece.greekreporter.com/2017/02/04/environment-ministry-tables-bill-ratifying-protection-of-prespa-park/#sthash.dSEqq901.dpuf

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Ministri i Mjedisit dhe i Energjise ne Greqi, Sokratis Famellos ka derguar nje projektligj ne parlament qe do te ratifikoje Marreveshjen Nderkombetare per Mbrojtjen e Zhvillimit te Qendrueshem te Parkut te Prespes ne veri te Greqise. Ky projektligj do te vazhdoje te mbroje Parkun si nje burim natyror
Prespa par eshte e para zone e mbrojtur nderkufitare ne Ballkan, e cila u krijua ne 2 Shkurt 2000, ne Diten Boterore te Ligatinave, me nje deklarate te perbashket nga Kryeministrat e Greqise, Shqiperise dhe Maqedonise pas propozimit te Shoqates per Mbrojtjen e Prespes dhe WWF.
Ky lajm u mireprit  nga bashkia e Prespes dhe disa organizata mjedisore dhe grupe lokale si Bordi Menaxhues i Parkut Nacional te Prespes, Kompania per Mbrojtjen e Prespes, WWF Hellas, Shoqata Greke Ornithologjike, Shoqata per mbrojtjen e Natyres etj
Organizatat i kane bere thirrje ligjvenesve te te gjitha partive ta miratojne ligjin, i cili eshte miratuar unanimisht ne vendet e tjera fqinje.
Prespa park eshte rezerva e pare nderkufitare natyrore ne Ballkan. Per te gjithe ne e ardhmja e rajonit te Prespes, nenkupton bashkepunim dhe vendosjen e urave per nje bashkejetese paqesore, per ruajtjen e mjedisit te cmuar natyror dhe per zhvillimin e qendrueshem. Ne kete drejtim zbatimi i marreveshjes do jete thelbesor", thane organizatat ne nje deklarate te perbashket.