Bijela Rijeka River is of crucial importance for the Plitvice Lakes National Park, this project will focus on the preparation of all necessary conditions for the removal of 8 dams along the Bijela Rijeka River.
Plitvice Lakes National Park is the biggest and 1st protected area in Croatia (296,85 km², established in 1949) and is located in the mountainous part of Croatia. The Park represents an area of a unique karst lake ecosystem that consists from 16 cascade lakes divided into upper and lower lakes. The Park was inscribed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1979.
Rivers Bijela and Crna Rijeka form river Matica, which creates the unique ecosystem of lakes.
As one of the two rivers forming the Plitvice Lakes, the 5 km long Bijela Rijeka River is an important habitat for the brown trout (Salmo trutta). However, 8 barriers built over the last century have severely impacted the genetic diversity and migration of the species upstream, as well as the possibility of upstream migration of aquatic invertebrates. Barriers on the Bijela Rijeka River cause habitat fragmentation and disrupt river continuity, changing the overall ecological status of the river by changed chemical processes, flow (accumulations) etc. It is expected that their removal will lead to a significant improvement in the hydromorphological condition and improvement of ecosystem in general.
|Plitvice Lakes National Park
|Bijela Rijeka River
|Km to be opened
|Inland water bodies (standing water, running water), mixed woodland
|brown trout (Salmo trutta)
|Dam removal (pre-demolition)
Since Bijela Rijeka River is of crucial importance for the Plitvice Lakes National Park, this project will focus on the preparation of all necessary conditions for the removal of 8 dams along the Bijela Rijeka River, improving the health of the river, lakes and entire World Heritage Site. As these will be the first dam removals in Croatia, considerable work needs to be done to pave the way for the removals.
It is expected that the project will serve as an example of good practice, encouraging other communities, protected areas, and local governments to join the dam removal movement and look for other dam removal opportunities across Croatia and the region.
The project will be implemented by WWF Adria and Plitvice Lakes National Park authority.
Main project activities will include:
Plitvice Lakes National Park authority