Monday, May 15, 2017

Protecting Europe's last truly "wild" waterways

Cameras, kayaks, test tubes, tree saplings, and lawyers: this is how civil society is coming together to save the blue gem of the Balkans..from Lake Ohrid and Prespa, to lake Skadar, from Drini River to Vjosa. Freshwater habitats in the Balkans are unique...


By Birdlife.org


Photo of Prespa Lake: Shkelzen Rexha
As cloud forms, the first raindrop falls from the sky and splashes from a flower petal into alpine soil. Here the droplet is joined by more and is pulled downwards, beneath paw tracks of the elusive Balkan lynx and into a woodland stream, pauses for a moment in a marsh, then, gushes over smooth limestone, past dancing dragonflies and into a strong torrent that feeds into ice cold Lesser Prespa Lake, on the southern border of Macedonia, pierced by heron beaks searching for fish. The droplet has become a lake.

But the journey is not over, this is just the beginning of the Drin River Basin: the water then flows underground past white cave-dwelling creatures to ancient Lake Ohrid, crosses the border into Albania and heads northwest for hundreds of kilometres where it connects with Lake Skadar, home to the world’s largest and rarest pelican species, and widens as it reaches the Adriatic Sea at the amphibian-rich Bojana Delta on the border with Montenegro.

“It’s a living system, profoundly bound with its people”, says Thomais Vlachogianni, Programme Officer of the Mediterranean Information Office for Environment, Culture and Sustainable Development (MIO-ECSDE). Home to Europe’s last truly “wild” rivers, the basin of the Drin River is still a huge, untamed natural environment, and arguably one of the most important freshwater system in Europe. In MIO-ECSDE’s short documentary entitled Echoes from the Drin, subtle, yet deeply crafted natural scenes evoke the feeling that wildlife – from the unseen minutiae to the flamboyantly remarkable – humans – from the smiles of nature tourists to the livelihoods of traditional herders – and the geological and hydrological processes that form this vast river basin, are all interconnected.
  
See full article:
http://www.birdlife.org/drin-river-balkan-waterways


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