European Parliament discusses Sava River

++ Opportunities for and threats to one of the most valuable rivers of Europe ++ Unique potential for natural flood control identified

The floodplains of the Sava offer a unique potential for natural flood retention © Goran Safarek
The Sava received important attention in the European Parliament today. The event was hosted by the Member of EU Parliament Igor Šoltes (The Greens/ European Free Alliance; 4th from the left in the photo) © EuroNatur

Brussels, Radolfzell, 28 March 2017. 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. “The Sava is one of Europe’s ecologically most precious rivers. Nonetheless, it is massively threatened by a range of infrastructure projects”, says EuroNatur CEO Gabriel Schwaderer.

The conference was hosted by MEP Igor Šoltes (Greens/EFA). The European Commission attended the conference, as did the SavaParks Network – an association of nature conservation organisations and administrations of protected areas along the Sava. The Network, of which EuroNatur is a member, is the first cross-border voice for the protection of the Sava River. “The Sava is at the crossroads. We have the opportunity and the knowledge to preserve this lifeline and at the same time improve flood control. We just have to put this knowledge into practice, which urgently needs support at the European level”, says Gabriel Schwaderer. After all, four Sava riparian states (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia) are EU member states or candidate countries.

Previously, representatives of NGOs and protected area administrations had only been reacting to interventions damaging nature. Instead, now the SavaParks Network developed an ecologically sound vision for the river as a whole, which allows moving conservation efforts proactively in a positive direction.

The European Parliament today saw the presentation of the “Sava White Book”. In more than one year, the Vienna-based consultancy FLUVIUS compiled data about the Sava and its tributaries, analysed satellite imagery and made area calculations in cooperation with EuroNatur, Riverwatch and the SavaParks Network as part of the “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” campaign. The white book gives the first consolidated description of the ecological importance of this unique river and the imminent threats by flood protection dams, hydropower projects, waterway construction and gravel mining. More significantly, however, the white book precisely highlights the opportunities for improving flood control and preserving the Sava as a lifeline. Protection from floods is a major issue along the Sava not just since the flooding in May 2014. The white book gives concrete proposals for a modern flood control working in tune with nature, not in opposition to nature. It identifies 143 areas along the Sava that qualify for natural regeneration. Following renaturation, a total of 185,000 hectares of former floodplain forests and meadows could be flooded on demand and thus mitigate flood waves. During a flooding event, 3.1 billion cubic metres of water could be retained naturally.

Background information:

  • The Sava is the longest river on the Balkan Peninsula. Running 926 kilometres from the source in Slovenia to Belgrade where it discharges into the Danube, the river is accompanied by 103,800 hectares of floodplain forests and 25,000 hectares of floodplain meadows. This is unparalleled within Europe and is mirrored in terms of biodiversity: About 900 pairs of white stork breed in the villages along the Sava, and more than 80 pairs of white-tailed eagle breed in the extensive floodplain forests. Further information: http://balkanrivers.net/en/key-areas/sava-river
  • The SavaParks Network comprises 21 members and aims to make the work of protected area administrations more effective and to support the river across borders along its entire length. SavaParks works for the protection and sustainable use of the river landscape.
  •  Wetlands International – European Association is a coalition of eight European NGOs (including EuroNatur) working to protect Europe’s wetlands, bogs and rivers. Find more information at https://europe.wetlands.org/our-network/members/
  • The campaign “Save the Blue Heart of Europe” aims to preserve the most valuable rivers on the Balkans. Coordinated by EuroNatur and Riverwatch, it is carried out in cooperation with partner organisations in Balkan countries. Find more information at www.balkanrivers.net



Contact information:

Katharina Grund - EuroNatur, Westendstraße 3, 78315 Radolfzell, T: +49 7732 - 92 72 10, F: +49 7732 - 92 72 22, katharina.grund(at)euronatur.org, www.euronatur.org, (Press contact)

Contact person: Gabriel Schwaderer

Do you want to help?

Donation

Future needs nature. EuroNatur cares for it. Please use your possibilities to help. With your donation you will make an effective contribution to protect rivers in Europe.

News: Blue Heart of Europe

Launch for transnational programme to protect the Sava River

The SavaParks Network, which has been initiated by EuroNatur, received an EU funding grant for a new Sava conservation project. The launch event took...

Swiss river conservationist receives EuroNatur Award 2018

++ EuroNatur Award 2018 goes to Roberto Epple ++ Europe-wide launch of online campaign #ProtectWater on the 9th of October ++

First European Rivers Summit held in Sarajevo

++ 250 people attend Summit to save Europe’s rivers and stop the damming ++ Participants call upon EU and Heads of State to stop funding hydropower ++...

Another victory for the “Brave Women of Kruščica”

++ Women block bridge in Bosnia-Herzegovina for over a year to protect their river ++ New attempt by the investor to vacate the bridge has been...

Illegal construction works in Valbona-National Park are still going on

Charade of Justice in Albania: Different courts mutually cancel their decisions in the case of the planned power plant Dragobia. The suffering ones...

Blue Heart in the European Parliament

On Wednesday 27th June, there was a screening of the documentary film “Blue Heart” in the European Parliament in Brussels. In the subsequent debate...

Over 120.000 signatures against hydropower in the Balkans

++ Petition against the financing of dam projects in the Balkans signed by more than 120,000 people ++ Petition handed over to the EBRD in London...

Construction stop of hydropower plant in Valbona Valley

There is hopeful news regarding the Albanian Valbona River: The Administrative Appeals Court in Tirana ruled to stop immediately all the construction...

Bern Convention visits Vjosa in Albania

Representatives of the Bern Convention visited the Vjosa in order to investigate to which extent plans for hydropower development are jeopardizing the...

Brave women of Kruščica win court case against dam construction

A major court victory has been won by a group of activists protecting their community and river from the threat of new dam construction.

World premiere of the "Blue Heart" film

The film "Blue Heart" celebrated its world premiere at the disused Idbar dam in Bosnia-Herzegovina and delighted the audience.

International appeal to support the brave women of Kruščica

Women wanted: A global appeal to women to travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina on 28 April to occupy for an evening a bridge as part of the Blue Heart...

New Study: Hydropower development puts Europe’s fish paradise at risk

The Balkan rivers host 113 rare and protected fish species. If the hydropower development is carried out as planned, about 10 percent of all European...

International banks fuelling a hydropower tsunami that’s decimating pristine Balkan rivers – study

Multilateral development banks have supported no fewer than 82 hydropower projects across southeast Europe, including in protected areas, according to...

Albania plans to build airport in protected area

New international airport to be constructed in Narta Lagoon ++ Albanian parliament approved the project yesterday ++ EuroNatur and its partners call...

By using our services, you agree that we use cookies. Data protection