Inside the fight for Europe's first wild river national park

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Albania's Vjosa stream was owed to beryllium nan tract of a monolithic hydroelectric dam, pinch disastrous consequences for biodiversity. New Scientist reports connected its rescue, nan benefits for section quality and why it is an inspiration for different stream conservation projects

By Graham Lawton


Albania’s Vjosa river, dubbed “Europe’s past chaotic river”

Lukas Bischoff Photograph/shutterstock

WHEN you spot nan abandoned building site, it isn’t difficult to marvel astatine what could person been. We floated information a crook successful nan stream connected our raft and location it was: 2 colossal artificial banks beneath scarred hillsides, stranded diggers and cement hoppers.

These are nan forlorn remains of nan Kalivaç reservoir task connected nan Vjosa stream successful Albania, which has been dubbed “Europe’s past chaotic river”. If nan developers had had their way, this would now beryllium nan tract of a 43-metre-high hydroelectric reservoir pinch a immense reservoir down it. Instead, successful March, nan Albanian authorities declared nan entirety of nan Vjosa and galore of its tributaries a chaotic stream nationalist park, nan first (and astir apt last) of its benignant successful Europe – saved successful perpetuity from a destiny that has befallen excessively galore of nan rivers successful this portion of nan world.

The Vjosa is typical because it is wholly free-flowing. Aside from nan remains of nan Kalivaç project, location are nary dams, barriers aliases artificial banks. It will now enactment that way. Mostly.

Dams make hydroelectric power, but are disastrous for biodiversity and different important ecological gifts rivers bestow upon us. So nan redeeming of nan Vjosa is simply a large triumph for quality – including nan critically endangered Balkan lynx and European eel – and an inspiration for different stream conservation projects. It is besides a uncommon spot of bully news against nan backdrop of nan shocking authorities of galore of nan world’s rivers. But nan conflict to …

Source Science