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The floodplains of the Sava offer a unique potential for natural flood retention. © Goran Šafarek

++ Opportunities for and threats to one of the most valuable rivers of Europe ++ Unique potential for natural flood control identified ++ Today, one of the last living rivers of Central Europe received valuable attention in Brussels. Nature conservation foundation EuroNatur and the European Association of Wetlands International made the Sava River an issue in the European Parliament.

 

This is how the banks of the Mur look after the tree massacre in Graz last week. © Rettet die Mur

If you want to see for yourself what „green and clean“ hydropower actually looks like, you currently have the chance to do so at the river Mur in Graz. In preparation for a highly contested hydropower project in Graz, about 700 trees – amongst them old willows, poplars and elm trees – have been clear-cut at the banks of the Mur under police protection and against heavy protests of thousands of people last week.

++ Threats and opportunities for one of the most valuable rivers of Europe ++ Flood protection approach developed ++ World Wetlands Day on February 2 ++ On the occasion of this year’s World Wetland Day on February 2, the environmental organisations Riverwatch and EuroNatur today present the “White Book Sava” – a comprehensive work about one of the ecologically most valuable but least known rivers of Europe.

Affected residents of Kutë were never informed about Poçem © Andreas Götz

++ Dam project on Europe’s last wild river was intended to be realised without adequate environmental assessment or civic participation ++ Legal precedent for rule of law in Albania ++ Tirana, Vienna, December 2, 2016. The planned destruction of the Vjosa, one of Europe’s last big wild rivers, is now being challenged in court.

The Vjosa – the last big wild river of Europe outside Russia. © Gregor Subic

++ Scientists demand 3-year construction freeze for hydropower plants on the Vjosa in Albania ++ Environmental assessment according to EU standards urgently required ++ Memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Edi Rama ++ World Rivers Day on September 25 ++  Just in time for the World Rivers Day on September 25, the last big wild river of Europe – the Vjosa in Albania – receives prominent support from all over the world.

Scientists from Albania, Austria and Germany at the Vjosa. From left to right: Prof. Sajmir Beqiraj, Prof. Friedrich Schiemer, Dr. Martin Pusch, Prof. Aleko Miho, Dr. Robert Konecny, Prof. Lefter Kashta. © EuroNatur

++ Scientists from Albania, Austria and Germany demand moratorium on dam construction plans on Europe’s last wild river as well as a 3-year research program ++ Between June 8 and 10, international experts from Austria and Germany met with scientists of the University of Tirana in Albania to discuss the future of the Vjosa river. They adopted a joint position paper, which was handed over to the Albanian Ministry of the Environment.

Valbona, Albania: even though this river is located inside a national park, hydropower projects on this river are in the pipeline. A total of 113 hydropower plants are projected to be built in national parks in the Balkans. © Jan Pirnat

++ Balkan Rivers Tour against dam tsunami ended ++ Kayakers paddled 23 rivers in 6 countries ++ Photo highlights of the tour for download ++ 23 rivers in six countries, 390 river kilometers: on Friday, May 14, a very unique activity ended in the Albanian capital of Tirana – the Balkan Rivers Tour. Over 35 days, kayakers from all over Europe paddled the most beautiful and most threatened rivers in the Balkans in order to draw attention to the looming dam tsunami on the peninsula. A total of over 500 paddlers from 18 nations participated in the activity.

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