Serbia will have multiple benefits from restoration of wetlands along the Dunav
Belgrade / Sofia - WWF Internationally Fund for Nature and the Coca-Cola system today announced a new seven-year partnership for the restoration of wetland and floodplain areas along the Dunav in six European countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Serbia).
The ambitious project, worth 4.4 million dollars, aims to increase the capacity of the river to 12 million m³ (4,800 Olympic swimming pools) and the reconstruction of more than 53 square kilometers of wetlands (the size of 7422 football fields) to the 2020th year. In Serbia, will be refurbished bar and Štrbac site Bestrement the area for Nature "Upper Dunav region" along the Dunav.
Along the Dunav, the second longest river in Europe, regulation of river waterways for river navigation, agriculture, exploitation of gravel and construction of dams in the last 150 years has destroyed 80 percent of natural wetlands, as well as biologically most productive habitats. These projects have been implemented for a number of reasons, including the need for hydropower, maintaining waterways and retention of flood waters.
The consequences are manifold, among them the reduction of fish populations, habitat disturbance, which was inhabited by numerous species of plants and animals, deterioration of water quality, as well as a reduction in area of wetlands that are natural reservoirs and significantly mitigate the impact of flood waters.
During the seven year period of reconstruction, the Coca-Cola system will support activities that will re-establish the links between the former floodplains and improve capacity for flood mitigation, restore wetland habitats for endangered species and to build fish ladders at dams, and also allow fish migration. The effect of restoring wetlands is important especially when you consider the recent floods with devastating consequences that could have been mitigated to the flooded areas along the river was at full capacity.
"Together, WWF and Coca-Cola system, with local governments and organizations in the countries of the Dunav basin, will preserve and restore vital wet and flooded areas for the benefit of people and nature," said Andreas Beckmann, Director of the WWF Dunav-Carpathian Programme. "At the same time we intend to create a regional movement to preserve and restore wetlands, and for the good management of water resources."
In Serbia, will be renovated bar and Šarkanj site Bestrement the area for Nature "Upper Dunav region" along the former floodplain of the Dunav. This area is part of the future of UNESCO Transboundary Biosphere Reserves "Mura-Drava-Dunav", also known as the European Amazon, which stretches from Austria, through Slovenia, Hungary and Serbia to the Croatian.
Bestrement includes former wetland area of the Dunav, but is cut off from the river flow due to construction of the dam and is almost completely overgrown with reeds and willows. In the past this area was very important for breeding and migration of 700 pairs of herons and other birds, but unfortunately lost its function due to drying and fouling vegetations. The project aims to improve the water regime throughout the year by renewing existing canals for irrigation and construction of the constitution. In addition to enhancing biodiversity, activities will be focused on the well-being of local communities through the development of eco-tourism, especially bird watching.
"This is the largest single program that Coca-Cola Foundation to support now in Europe," said Ulrike Sapiro, director of the Department of Community and Environmental Coca-Cola company in Europe. "The WWF are working from 2007th to conserve freshwater resources around the world and create sustainable change in our business. We are aware that water is a limited resource. It is also the main ingredient of our products. That's why we advocate for the continuous improvement of the efficiency of water use and work with WWF to achieve the realization of our ambitious global goals. "
To raise awareness of the necessity of protecting and restoring wetlands, WWF and Coca-Cola system run Caravan for live Danube, which will begin on Dunav Day (June 29th 2014). Serbia, and will visit more than 25 locations throughout Austria, Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungary, Romania and Serbia by the end of the summer 2015th Caravan will emphasize the importance of wetland and floodplain areas for the benefit of people and nature using engaging and interactive educational tools.
Caravan to live Dunav will visit several cities in Serbia on the occasion of the Danube and Nis, June 27, Belgrade on 28 and 29 June, New York on July 1 and July 3, Sombor.