Korana River: mapping barriers, restoring biodiversity, and fostering public support

Mapping, categorising, and garnering public support for the removal of 27 barriers within its Korana River in Croatia.

Introduction

The Korana River, coursing through a vast catchment area of over 2200km2 in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, is a vital ecological artery spanning 134 km. From its origins in Plitvice Lakes to its confluence with the Kupa River in Karlovac, the Korana holds significant ecological value, being part of the Natura 2000 network. The catchment is home to diverse migratory fish species, including the newly described Alburnus sava. However, 27 barriers impede its flow, affecting biodiversity and hindering its recognition within Natura 2000. The project aims to map and categorise these barriers, laying the groundwork for their removal, restoring biodiversity, and garnering public support.

At a glance

Project typeBarrier identification and prioritisation
Project statusLive
CountryCroatia
RiverKorana
Focal speciesAlburnus sava, Rutilus virgo, Aspius aspius, Barbus balcanicus, Austropotamobius torrentium, Unio crassus, Hucho hucho

Project context and opportunity

Despite its ecological importance, the Korana River catchment faces challenges from 27 barriers affecting biodiversity and hampering its Natura 2000 designation. Removing these barriers could open up 134 km of Korana, 63 km of Mrežnica, 5 km of Slunjčica, and 10-15 km of smaller tributaries, creating a reconnected system with Dobra, Kupa, and Sava rivers. The project presents a unique opportunity to address these challenges, restore biodiversity, and position the issue of barrier removal on the political agenda in Croatia, potentially influencing similar initiatives in neighbouring river systems.

Project aims

The project’s overarching objective is to set the stage for the future removal of barriers within the Korana River catchment by identifying key barriers and securing public support for their elimination. All existing barriers will be documented through a comprehensive mapping and classification process. Engaging stakeholders through various events and implementing a targeted media campaign will further cultivate public awareness and support. Successful project implementation is anticipated to elevate the importance of barrier removal on the political agenda in Croatia, potentially paving the way for similar initiatives across the region’s rivers.

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