Educational summer camp "Our Drava"/Ljetni edukacijski kamp "Naša Drava"
Educational summer camp "Our Drava"/Ljetni edukacijski kamp "Naša Drava"

Educational summer camp „Our Drava“ as part of the 2018 – Year of the Tern

Varaždin – A seven days educational summer camp for students on benefits of the Drava River was organized by Association BIOM in Jalžabet near Varaždin from 24th till 30th June. 15 students from First Gymnasium Varaždin and few high schools from Ivanec participated at the „Our Drava“ educational camp. Students learned about the biodiversity of flora and fauna on the Drava River, species and habitats and their importance for the freshwater ecosystem. „Our Drava“ camp is the activity organized within the 2018 – Year of the Tern and within the Interreg Project „Conserving populations of terns in the Sava and Drava basin“ by BIOM.

During the camp students visited Ptuj lake in Slovenia, reservoirs of the hydropower plants Varaždin and Čakovec and the wider area of the Mura – Drava Regional Park where they were actively exploring the Drava River and learning about the plants and species of the area.

Educational summer camp “Our Drava”/Ljetni edukacijski kamp “Naša Drava”

In addition to other lecturers, Branka Španiček, from WWF Adria was also involved in the camp and held a lecture about the importance of river birds, especially little tern (Sternula hirundo) and sand martin (Riparia riparia). Migratory birds such as terns can be seen in smaller or larger flocks and they are mostly nesting on gravel islands and gravel bars in just few places in Croatia. They feed on fish, crabs, insects and molluscs.

Students also learned more about the EU project DRAVA LIFE and activities within the project such as the first reintroduction and repopulation of two pioneer riverine plants German tamarisk (Myricaria germanica) and dwarf cattail (Typha minima). The plants have gone extinct in their natural habitat along the river in Croatia; and were planted on gravel bars along Drava river in an effort to re-introduce them into the river system.

Non-governmental organizations WWF Adria and BIOM proclaimed 2018 as Year of the Tern. The two NGO’s are undertaking separate project activities in parallel throughout the year to protect terns and raise awareness on the importance of preserving their habitats along the Drava River.

The actions of WWF Adria are co-funded by the European Union under the DRAVA LIFE project LIFE 14 NAT/HR/000115 DRAVA LIFE;BIOM`activities are co-funded within their Interreg Project „Conserving populations of terns in the Sava and Drava Basin“.

To find out more news on educational summer camp „Our Drava“ click here :

Dr. Dragica Purger a botanist and expert associate in the DRAVA LIFE project/botaničarka i stručna suradnica DRAVA LIFE projekta

Successful first phase of re-introduction and repopulation of riverine plants along the Drava

Legrad – The first process of reintroduction and repopulation of extinct riverine plants in Croatia was carried out on 3 sites along the Drava River in Koprivnica-Križevci County earlier this year. First monitoring of this action`s results had been planned for May this year but had to be postponed until end of June due to the high water levels that persisted a little longer than two months.

As a part of the re-introduction activity, german tamarisk was moved from the gravel pit near Varaždin and Prelog to the pre-selected locations, while dwarf cattail was transported from Austria, where its population along Drava river is in good condition due to the reintroduction that was carried out throughout several projects.

Patuljasti rogoz na lokaciji Forjanov siget/Dwarf cattail at location Forjanov siget

German tamarisk at location Libanovec/Kebrač na lokaciji Libanovec

German tamarisk at location Libanovec/Kebrač na lokaciji Libanovec












“Despite the unfavorable conditions and fear that high water levels will adversely affect plants, we are extremely happy that our first monitoring results showed that the first phase of repopulation and reintroduction was successful. Our expert associate, Dr. Dragica Purger has found separate seedlings on almost all sites where the activities were carried out. Unfortunately, not all plants have survived high water levels but we believe that the species that survived will continue to grow. The first year is crucial in such cases and we will closely monitor plants in the upcoming months. The ultimate success of reintroduction and repopulation can only be ascertained when seedlings are fully adapted to the new habitat conditions and are beginning to reproduce”, said Branka Španiček from WWF Adria.

Both the german tamarisk and dwarf cattail are indicators of healthy and natural rivers. German tamarisk was last recorded in 2013 at the gravel bars near Legrad, while dwarf cattail disappeared from this area more than 20 years ago, to be more precise, last time it was recorded on the gravel bars near Varaždin was in the year 1994.

Both plants are pioneer species that grow on new habitats such as sandbanks and river banks in freshwater ecosystems. They could be found on this kind of habitats along the Drava river in Croatia until the recent past but have become almost extinct from the area with the gradual decrease of such habitats and loss of river dynamics along with rapid and frequent changes in water levels due to hydropower operation. Factors that have contributed to the disappearance of these habitats are lack of sediment as well as decreases of natural river dynamics due to river regulation and hydropeaking.