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Removal of River Barriers Begins in Plitvice Lakes National Park

PLITVIČKI LJESKOVAC – Five years after witnessing the removal of the first barriers from rivers in our region, where three barriers were removed from the Montenegrin Vezišnica, work began this Monday to remove the first river barriers in Croatia!

In Plitvice Lakes National Park, artificial barriers are located on the Bijela Rijeka stream, only 4.5 kilometers long. It is intersected by about thirty mills and old sawmills that no longer serve their function. The expert management of the Park, through the WWF Adria project, is removing them and returning the Bijela Rijeka to its natural course.

Besides enabling the migration of Danube salmon during spawning, the Bijela Rijeka stream will meet again with the Crna Rijeka on its natural path, from which they together create river Matica, which then flows in the Plitvice Lakes.

Out of a total of eight locations where artificial barriers are placed, the Park is managing four where minor interventions are needed, while WWF Adria has secured works with machinery to remove four large concrete barriers. By removing and intervening in eight barriers along the course of the Bijela Rijeka, a total of eight kilometers of flow will be freed. The completion of the works is expected later this month.

With increasingly intense climate changes, more severe disruptions in the water cycle, droughts, floods, intense storms, most of the once-built barriers on rivers have become useless, expensive to maintain, harmful to animals, and dangerous for people.

The WWF barrier removal project in Plitvice Lakes National Park is being carried out with the support of the European Open Rivers Program, an organization dedicated to providing grants for river restoration.

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