Attention all nature lovers! Are you ready to dive deep into the world of river conservation? We are thrilled to announce the launch of The Blue Heart Podcast which kicks off with a five-episode series that uncovers the groundbreaking scientific findings from the 2022 Neretva Science Week.
From May 30th to June 7th 2023, a diverse team of scientists will visit the Neretva River to contribute to conservation of this river as knowledgeable experts and scientists. We now call for interested journalists and scientists to express their interest in participating.
We invite you to join our next webinar on January 31st (6pm MET) to learn about the results of the 50 scientists that joined the Neretva Science Week in summer 2022 and how their science contributes to the protection of this highly intact river system. Please REGISTER HERE to join this webinar.
The first findings of the expedition were summarized in this report, to provide some very preliminary impressions, highlights and an overview from each of the specialty groups of what was done during this impressively international and collaborative effort. The data collected will be analysed in much more detail over the next months and a more detailed final report is expected by the end of the year 2022.
The Shushica - a tributary of the Vjosa in Albania – is once again under attack from hydropower projects. They had already been averted, since the permits for the plants had long expired. However, we now learned that the Albanian National Environmental Agency had already given the green light on November 16, 2021
Hydropower plants and dams have detrimental effects on river ecosystems, but they also affect people in negative ways. In a recent study, researchers from the CALTUS Institute Namibia presented a newly developed model to assess the number of people potentially affected by already operating, under construction and planned hydropower projects (HPPs) in the Balkan region.
From May 29 to June 6, a science delegation from Austria, Albania, Italy and Germany collects multidisciplinary data from the two major Vjosa tributaries Shushica and Bënça. This research week is a follow-up of a comparable undertaking at the Vjosa in 2017, which contributed substantially to our success in establishing the ecological value of the Vjosa, fending off the hydropower projects (HPP) and which led to the designation as a protected area.
This baseline survey summarises the value of the Vjosa River system as one of the few remaining reference sites for dynamic floodplains in Europe on the one hand, and reveals the detrimental effects dams could have on the river system on the other. Only one dam will significantly destroy the ecological continuum of a pristine river.
Most recently, ten Alternative Nobel Prize winners - including the renowned Prof. em. Dr. Michael Succow - addressed and signed an open letter to the several leading Albanian politicians and EU representatives, urging them to protect the Vjosa River and begin preparations to establish it as Europe’s first Wild River National Park.
++ One of the largest science petitions in global freshwater ecology calls to stop Vjosa dam projects in Albania ++ Scientists demand Albanian government to respect scientific standards in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Kalivaç hydropower project ++
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.