Neretva-Delta

Fragile bird paradise on the Adriatic

© Massimo Bottoni
© Massimo Bottoni

The eight arms of the delta of the river Neretva form a pattern like a huge bird's foot. And delta lakes, fed by underground springs, narrow river valleys, forests of reeds, lagoons, lush common land pastures, sand banks, riparian forests and river branches covered in aquatic plants together create a veritable bird paradise here. In the 20 thousand hectares of the delta spreading from Bosnia Herzegovina over the Croatian border to the Adriatic, 300 bird species live and rest. Among them are Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill, Crane, the rare Ferruginous Duck and Pygmy Cormorant.



A key area for wildfowl protection in Europe

Flocks of elegant, large birds such as Great Egret, Grey Heron, Crane and Spoonbill are dependent on the open spaces in the delta as a landing place to reach before their flight over the Dinaric Alps. As the only major reed area on the Adriatic coast the Neretva Delta is an absolutely vital resting place for birds traveling back and forth on the Adriatic flyway between their summer and winter quarters, which makes the conservation of this natural landscape a key task for the successful protection of migratory birds in Europe.

Bird hunting and destruction of habitats are increasing alarmingly

Considerable parts of the delta are admittedly already protected areas (to open a map please click on the photo gallery below). For instance the whole of the Neretva Delta in Croatia and in the Hutovo Blato Nature Park in Bosnia-Herzegovina are designated wetlands of international importance and protected under the Ramsar Convention. In addition in the Croatian area of the delta there are five designated, strictly protected nature reserves. But apart from the fact that the protected areas do not form a continuous network, the establishment of protected zones on paper is not enough, because in practice little notice is taken of this status.

The nature reserves in Croatia are not even marked or signposted as such. Every year motorways, mandarine plantations and commercial sites are eating further into the rich natural landscape of the Delta. And the smaller their habitat becomes the more the birds are exposed to hunters on the few remaining areas. Bird-hunting is a great problem in the Neretva Delta: in contrast to the hundreds of thousands of birds that used to rest here 100 years ago, there are merely a few hundred left today.



What actions is EuroNatur undertaking ?

  • Accelerating the designation of the Neretva Delta as a Nature Park and establishing further areas in which hunting is banned.
  • Campaigning for the implementation of a trans-boundary concept for the protection of the whole Neretva Delta.
  • Offering and demonstrating alternatives to bird hunting and the destruction of nature. EuroNatur counsels the Hutovo Blato Nature Park over the development of a programme of eco-tourism and bird-watching and organises funding to build the tourism and hospitality infrastructure required.
  • Drawing attention to the protection which is lacking on the Croatian side of the Neretva Delta through political lobbying and in this context promoting the idea of nature tourism as a lucrative economic alternative to the destruction of nature.
  • Supporting local institutions (e.g. the Nature Park management of Hutovo Blato) and raising public awareness of conservation issues.
  • Taking measures to ensure that protection regulations are complied with in practice.
  • Supporting local bird experts in their voluntary bird counts and spot checks on hunting.
  • Setting up workshops and seminars on bird counts for young nature conservationists and also organising guided nature walks.

 

 

What we have already achieved – a selection of successes:

  • The network of birdwatchers and bird experts is growing closer-knit. In the meantime in Bosnia, members of the Nase Ptice association are regularly monitoring the bird population in Hutovo Blato Nature Park and also keeping up a visible presence to deter bird-hunting.
  • EuroNatur has already worked out a zonation concept for the effective protection of the Neretva Delta as a trans-boundary biosphere reserve.
  • Working consistently on raising public awareness using multiple channels of communication:
  1. Since the spring of 2010 a permanent exhibition in the ornithological collection in Metkovi? has been displaying the natural and cultural treasures of the Neretva Delta and campaigning for its designation as a Nature park on the Croatian side of the delta.
  2. A multi-lingual leaflet informs foreign hunting visitors, local hunters and other visitors about what regulations are in force in the Neretva Delta and where hunting is forbidden.
  3. “Birds of the Neretva Delta”, the four-volume book series completed in 2010, for the first time documents the outstanding value of the area as a resting place for migrating birds with impressive photos and texts. The series was published with the support of EuroNatur.


Partners:“Nase Ptice“ Bird Protection Society in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatian Society for Bird and Nature Protection, the local Vodomar (Kingfisher) bird protection group in Croatia, the Ornithological Collection in Metkovi? and Hutovo Blato Nature Park

Sponsors: EuroNatur donors and sponsors



back to top of page

 

 

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 a more livable environment.

News

Construction works on the Jiu hydroelectric power plant still going on

It is scandalous: The romanian appeals court declared the building permission of the Jiu hydroelectric plant several times, lately in December....

Hydroelectric power station on the River Jiu halted for the time being

Encouraging news for the Romanian River Jiu: the building permit has been declared null and void by the courts. As a result the Jiu may continue to...

Study proves: Small power plants, big damage

European-financed small hydropower plants damaging pristine Balkan landscapes

Second part of the documentary series "Out of Control" reveals further intrigues

Destruction of old-growth forests in Romania: logging devastates parts of Semenic National Park, too ++ EuroNatur and Agent Green: unacceptable...

Mavrovo-Nationalpark: Demand for a halt to construction of hydroelectric power plants

Bern Convention: Macedonian government requested to halt construction of hydropower plants in national park

The Variety of Nature in Focus

Photo Competition “Europe’s Natural Treasures” starts

Investigation Video: Primeval Forest Destruction in Romania’s National Parks

EuroNatur and Agent Green: This is currently Europe’s biggest environmental drama!

Ray of hope for Balkan Lynx

The Balkan Lynx has to be strictly protected as a distinct subspecies of the Eurasian Lynx. This decision has been adopted unanimously at the meeting...

Albanian industrial confederation demands halt of dam plans at Vjosa River

In Albanian society, the opposition against the projected building development of the Vjosa River is receiving further support. In an open letter to...

Hydropower Tsunami on Balkans

New hydropower report: Dam tsunami on Balkans is speeding up ++ 2.800 hydropower projects planned, 187 under construction ++ more than 1.000 of them...

#GivingTuesday: Join in and save the ancient forests!

The countdown has started: On the 28th of November is #GivingTuesday. On this day the initiative of this name will call on people all over the world...

White Storks go online

The network of European Stork villages now has its own website. Visitors to the site www.storkvillages.net can find out about this charismatic bird,...

Network for the conservation of the threatened Karst Poljes

There was lively participation in the concluding international workshop for the preservation of the Karst Poljes in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Fifty two...

New blood for lynxes on the Balkans

Three lynxes caught by camera trap in Albania and Macedonia

German Environmental Prize awarded to Hubert Weiger

He is one of the trailblazers of the European Green Belt. Yesterday, Prof. Dr. Hubert Weiger received the German Environmental Prize in Braunschweig....

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