Developing the methodology and knowledge to further develop strategies for reconnecting rivers and their restoration on a national level.
The Pcinja River is the second largest tributary of the Vardar River in North Macedonia. It flows for 76 km through the Kumanovska valley, and Bislimska and Badarska gorges. The Pcinja River has several large tributaries, such as the Kumanovska and Kriva rivers, and several smaller tributaries, such as the Dragomanska, Petroshnica and Luka rivers. Тhe Pcinja river catchment stretches across Emerald, IBA, IPA and nationally protected areas and is important in maintaining habitat balance.
|Barbus macedonicus, the Macedonian Barble, Salmo macedonicus, the Macedonian trout, Pachychilon macedonicum, Macedonian moranec
|Barrier identification and prioritisation
North Macedonia’s rivers are abundant in biodiversity – over 70% of fish species are endemic. At the same time, rivers are often not properly protected. In the past decades, more than 90 small hydropower plants have been built on pristine rivers, one-third of them in protected areas. Many more have been blocked or regulated in the past by inappropriate flood prevention systems or for fishing purposes.
Pcinja River, as an example, can serve to change this practice, protect rivers, and work on their restoration. The preliminary research shows that the river catchment is highly fragmented, with over 40 river barriers that alter the transport of sediments and the movement of fish and aquatic organisms. The negative impact is also reflected in habitat degradation, species abundance and distribution, and ecosystem health.
The project will provide the methodology and knowledge to develop further strategies for reconnecting rivers and their restoration on a national level.
The project goal is to develop a nationally applicable methodology and database for identifying priority barriers for removal by using the Pcinja River catchment as a case study.
The aim of the preparatory work conducted through the project is to:
Geobalcanica North Macedonia