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Contained in the struggle for Europe’s first wild river nationwide park in Albania



Albania’s Vjosa river, dubbed “Europe’s last wild river”

Lukas Bischoff {Photograph}/shutterstock

WHEN you see the deserted development web site, it isn’t arduous to marvel at what may have been. We floated spherical a bend within the river on our raft and there it was: two colossal synthetic banks beneath scarred hillsides, stranded diggers and cement hoppers.

These are the forlorn stays of the Kalivaç dam undertaking on the Vjosa river in Albania, which has been dubbed “Europe’s last wild river”. If the builders had had their manner, this could now be the location of a 43-metre-high hydroelectric dam with an enormous reservoir behind it. As an alternative, in March, the Albanian authorities declared the whole lot of the Vjosa and plenty of of its tributaries a wild river nationwide park, the primary (and doubtless final) of its type in Europe – saved in perpetuity from a destiny that has befallen too lots of the rivers on this a part of the world.

The Vjosa is particular as a result of it’s fully free-flowing. Except for the stays of the Kalivaç undertaking, there are not any dams, obstacles or synthetic banks. It can now keep that manner. Principally.

Dams generate hydroelectric energy, however are disastrous for biodiversity and different essential ecological items rivers bestow upon us. So the saving of the Vjosa is an enormous win for nature – together with the critically endangered Balkan lynx and European eel – and an inspiration for different river conservation initiatives. It is usually a uncommon bit of excellent information in opposition to the backdrop of the surprising state of lots of the world’s rivers. However the battle to …

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