Posts

Work commences on the first restoration location of the DRAVA LIFE Project!

Work has commenced on the first of six renovation locations as part of the DRAVA LIFE project

On the 17th of November, at the branch of the Drava River near Legrad, a public presentation marked the commencement of work on the first of six planned restoration sites under the DRAVA LIFE – Integrated River Management project. ’ After many years of preparation, the start of restoration at this location is a significant milestone in the implementation of the Project,’ said Mr. Milan Rezo, the director of the Water Management Department for Mura and Gornja Drava in Hrvatske vode.

The opening of a side arm to the Drava, with a total length of 1560 m and connected smaller arms, oxbows, and waters, is planned. This will be achieved through the deepening and removal of natural sediment deposits at the entrance of the side arm, which currently obstruct the water flow from the Drava into the system for most of the year. Additionally, there are plans to remove a 20 m-long traverse that crosses the sidearm. The excavated material will be stored a bit further downstream on the left riverbank, allowing it to be naturally eroded and washed away by the river.

“With the implementation of the DRAVA LIFE project, we are introducing new practices in water management and nature protection based on numerous experiences across Europe”, Milan Rezo, the director of the Water Management Department for Mura and Gornja Drava in Hrvatske vode, said. “These experiences have shown that the restoration of rivers and their floodplains is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to improve the state of the ecosystem and defend against floods. After many years of preparation, the start of work at this location is a significant milestone in the implementation of the Project.’

Speakers at the event included Igor Horvat, Vice-President of the Municipal Council of Legrad Municipality; Ratimir Ljubić, Deputy Prefect of Koprivnica-Križeva County; Milan Rezo, Director of the Water Management Department for Mura and Upper Drava (Hrvatske vode); Jasmin Sadiković from Zeleni Osijek; Željka Kolar, Director of the Public Institution for the Management of Protected Nature Areas in Koprivnica-Križevci County; and Tanja Nikowitz from WWF Austria.

With the restoration of the Drava River, the area will gain attractive landscapes and biological sites, serving as a new resource for the development of ecological tourism and educational activities. Jasmin Sadiković, the project coordinator from the association Zeleni Osijek, highlighted the importance of learning about applied restoration measures, river habitats, and endangered species. He emphasized that this knowledge will enhance the understanding of the need for protection and coexistence of local communities with the ecosystem of the river Drava, while presenting the project’s achievements so far and plans for the next period.

According to Željka Kolar, the director of the JU for the Management of Protected Areas of Nature in Koprivnica-Križevačka County, “Renovation activities will be of great importance for the preservation of target species and habitat types in the Natura 2000 areas covered by the project.”

Tanja Nikowitz from WWF Austria emphasized the broader context, stating, “The recently agreed Regulation on the Restoration of Nature, which should soon be adopted by the EU Council and Parliament, urges member states like Croatia to restore degraded ecosystems. River restoration projects like the DRAVA LIFE project are an important step in the implementation of this new Regulation and the joining of forces against climate change and the loss of biodiversity.” She added, “The area of the DRAVA LIFE project is included in the world’s first Five-country UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Mura-Drava-Danube, known as the ‘Amazon of Europe.’ This extraordinary initiative embodies the joint commitment of Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Hungary, and Serbia, demonstrating that conservation knows no borders.”

Igor Tošić, the project manager from Hrvatske vode, presented the upcoming plans and led participants to the side-branch, where the work was ceremonially started by burying shovels.

A sincere gratitude to everyone who joined us, making this day truly special! Your presence and support mean the world to us.

 

WWF Adria
German tamarisk

Conservation of German tamarisk

At the end of April, we sent several plants of German tamarisks to the Botanical Garden in Klagenfurt so they could further develop. We hope we will be able to plant them one day in the natural habitats on the Drava River in Croatia, together with new plants.

Botanical Garden, Klagenfurt

Also, to determine the actual origin of German tamarisks that can be found near the Drava River, with the help of our colleague Dragica Purger, we extracted genetic material of German tamarisk from the gravel pit and drainage channel near HPP Dubrava. We can’t wait for the results and to finally have scientific evidence about the origin of the plants.

 

JUZDPVZ
Struga

DRAVA LIFE info-points set up in Varaždin County

Within the project DRAVA LIFE, six info-points in five local government units have been set up in the following locations: municipality Cestica (Veliki Lovrečan), municipality Sračinec (Svibovec Podravski), Varaždin city (location along the Drava park-forest), municipality Trnovec Bartolovečki (Zamlaka settlement) and municipality Sveti Đurđ (Hrženica and Struga).

Placed near the existing/planned cycling trail „Mura-Drava Bike“, info-points are designed as resting points (covered seating area) with informational and educational content intended for local inhabitants, visitors and cyclists. The roof of the info-points refers to the local micro-architecture along the Drava river and at the same time defines the place of rest and presentation of the informative and educational content. Also, the height of the roof cornice enables a framed view from the bench to the surrounding area.

Text, photographs and maps on the info-points present natural assets and protection of the area along the river Drava, the importance of conservation of the river habitats, as well as plant and animal species that are important for that area. Furthermore, visitors are provided with instructions on how they can influence river conservation, along with basic information about the DRAVA LIFE project.

Every info-point is thematic and contains an additional set of information depending on the specific habitats/species that can be found in the immediate vicinity (for example, the first info-point next to the fishing lodge additionally presents the fish fauna, the second one presents gravel bars located in the immediate vicinity). We believe that info-points will become a favourite gathering place of the local population and visitors of the Regional park, contribute to raising awareness of the importance of the area and ultimately result in better conservation of habitats and species.

Drava - Donja Dubrava - Legrad
C3_Donja Dubrava-Legrad (2)

Natura 2000 Day

We mark Natura 2000 Day on the 21st of May since 1992 when both the EU Habitats Directive and LIFE programme were approved. Today Natura 2000 consists of more than 27 800 sites on land and sea across EU successfully contributing to the preservation of our unique natural heritage.

This year, we are putting the spotlight on the proximity of Natura 2000 sites to people and on the benefits that nature brings to people and the planet, including those related to health. The Natura 2000 network with its vast coverage brings nature literally to our doorstep. Nature is not a luxury but our vital ally and we need to value, protect and restore it.

We are proud that our whole project area is proclaimed as Natura 2000 and we invite you to go to the Drava River and celebrate this day by cherishing our unique nature.

Libanovec ploča
Libanovec

Avoid disturbance: Sand martin colony nearby

Libanovec – In order to contribute to the protection of the colony of sand martins at Libanovac and increase the safety of all visitors, who walk along the steep bank, the DRAVA LIFE team has set up a warning sign.

The sign is placed next to the information board about sand martin, where all nature enthusiasts can find more information about the importance of the sand martins, their colony and the DRAVA LIFE project. Štefica Sirutka, mayor of Đelekovec, an important partner in the conservation of this colony and the protection of the Drava River, attended the installation of the warning sign.

little terns

Help the little terns

Dear lovers of nature and the Drava River,

Ambassador of the Drava, the little tern, needs your help to make her stay at the bars of our river comfortable and, above all, safe. Each year in the spring little terns return from Africa, where they spend their winter, and then stay, during spring and summer on isolated gravel and sand bars where they bring young one into the world, ensuring the survival of their species.

All this has changed over the last few decades, mostly because of human activities on the rivers that decimated suitable nesting spots. Today only four pairs of little terns are present on the Mura and Drava in Croatia and Hungary. Construction of hydropower plants, river regulation, and sediment extraction are just some of the reasons that have led to a loss of gravel and sand bars, which are the main habitat of the Drava’s ambassador.

Small sections of the Drava River which still preserve some breeding places on rare gravel and sand bars are home to little terns. In shallow water zones, bays and oxbows little terns can find enough fish to feed themselves and their little ones.

To help them please do not step on the gravel and sand bars particularly during the birds’ breeding season between Mid-April and the end of July! This will help increase the population and make sure little terns become again frequent neighbours on the Drava River!

Prijatelj čigri

BE A FRIEND OF LITTLE TERNS!

Dear lovers of nature and the Drava River,

Ambassador of the Drava, the little tern, needs your help to make her stay at the bars of our river comfortable and, above all, safe. Each year in the spring little terns return from Africa, where they spend their winter, and then stay, during spring and summer on isolated gravel and sand bars where they bring young one into the world, ensuring the survival of their species.

All this has changed over the last few decades, mostly because of human activities on the rivers that decimated suitable nesting spots. Today only four pairs of little terns are present on the Mura and Drava in Croatia and Hungary. Construction of hydropower plants, river regulation, and sediment extraction are just some of the reasons that have led to a loss of gravel and sand bars, which are the main habitat of the Drava’s ambassador.

Small sections of the Drava River which still preserve some breeding places on rare gravel and sand bars are home to little terns. In shallow water zones, bays and oxbows little terns can find enough fish to feed themselves and their little ones.

To help them please do not step on the gravel and sand bars particularly during the birds’ breeding season between Mid-April and the end of July! This will help increase the population and make sure little terns become again frequent neighbours on the Drava River!

Portfolio Items