Inside the fight for Europe’s first wild river national park in Albania

Inside the fight for Europe’s first wild river national park in Albania

Albania’s Vjosa river, dubbed “Europe’s final wild river”

Lukas Bischoff {Photograph}/shutterstock

WHEN you see the deserted building web site, it isn’t exhausting to marvel at what may have been. We floated spherical a bend within the river on our raft and there it was: two colossal synthetic banks beneath scarred hillsides, stranded diggers and cement hoppers.

These are the forlorn stays of the Kalivaç dam challenge on the Vjosa river in Albania, which has been dubbed “Europe’s final wild river”. If the builders had had their method, this could now be the location of a 43-metre-high hydroelectric dam with an unlimited reservoir behind it. As a substitute, in March, the Albanian authorities declared the whole thing of the Vjosa and lots of of its tributaries a wild river nationwide park, the primary (and possibly final) of its type in Europe – saved in perpetuity from a destiny that has befallen too lots of the rivers on this a part of the world.

The Vjosa is particular as a result of it’s completely free-flowing. Apart from the stays of the Kalivaç challenge, there aren’t any dams, obstacles or synthetic banks. It can now keep that method. Principally.

Dams generate hydroelectric energy, however are disastrous for biodiversity and different essential ecological items rivers bestow upon us. So the saving of the Vjosa is a giant win for nature – together with the critically endangered Balkan lynx and European eel – and an inspiration for different river conservation tasks. It’s also a uncommon bit of excellent information towards the backdrop of the stunning state of lots of the world’s rivers. However the battle to …

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